Asking prices up 1.9% on pre-lockdown levels: Rightmove
By Leah Milner
The average asking price for properties coming to market in England has risen by 1.9 per cent to £337,884 compared to the period before lockdown, according to new figures from Rightmove.
The property portal says the price at which sellers are advertising their homes has increased by an average of £6,266 compared to March 2020 before the housing market was put on hold.
Since measures were eased in England on May 13 2020 allowing property viewings and home moves to resume, there has been a notable pick-up in activity.
Rightmove says that 40,000 sales have been agreed.
The average number of sales per day plunged by 94% during lockdown but has now recovered to just 3% below the figure for this time last year.
Buyers are agreeing to pay 97.7% of the asking price on average, compared to 96.6% for sales completed in February 2020.
The number of people phoning and emailing Estate Agents such as Pymm & Co every day has reached a new record, which is 40% above the level seen in early March.
There has been increased demand for properties with outdoor space from buyers who are fed up with confinement indoors during lockdown.
However, based on 2019’s figures, there are more than 175,0000 sales that should have taken place between March 24 and May 12, that had to be postponed, which will be contributing to the current bounceback in activity.
Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside says: “Following the initial shock of the early reopening of the housing market, England is getting moving again with a boom in traffic on Rightmove. There are no signs of panic selling or even a price dip. Some sellers who had agreed a sale before lockdown have been worrying that their buyer may try to re-negotiate with a reduced offer.On this evidence buyers may now be trying to exchange quickly, as there are signs of high pent-up demand and upwards price pressure, rather than downwards.Lenders may also have been concerned about price instability affecting the risk profile of their low-deposit mortgages, so hopefully this will give them more confidence to increase their range of first-time-buyer products.”
Shipside adds: “After three months of speculation about prices we now have a month’s worth of detailed data showing the market bouncing back, and currently with a modest degree of upwards price pressure showing that those buyers hoping to negotiate hard may find their offer rejected in the current market.”
But he warns that positivity around house prices will be challenged when unemployment spikes upwards or if mortgage lenders start to pull back from the market.
North London estate agent and a former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: “What is interesting about these figures is the continued shortage of available family houses, which coupled with a two-month enforced confinement and record low interest rates, is supporting higher asking and agreed sale prices.Some buyers are still making low-ball offers but are finding they are not taken seriously so are forced to increase.By this time it may be too late.”