Those looking to sell their current property are perfect placed in the market right now – provided they already have somewhere to move to.
That’s because the latest House Price Index from the property portal Rightmove shows the biggest gap between supply and demand in more than a decade.
It also reveals the website received seven million visits a day last month – an increase of 40% on February last year and before the pandemic and first lockdown had begun to kick-in.
Around 17 viewers per property in Wales
Rightmove executives say there is more buyer interest per property than there has been since 2011 – 34% more, in fact, compared to the same time last year. And in Wales, there are 17 viewers for every property on the market.
This means, of course, that asking prices have once again increased. Last month they rose 0.8% on the previous month, with the average property in England now sitting at around £321,000. It’s worth noting though that the Rightmove Index bases its scoring on asking prices, rather than what buyers paid for the property.
The extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday provided impetus for UK property as a whole, while the imminent ending of lockdown is resulting in more sellers – as well as buyers – coming to market. After June the ‘no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of a property’ rule will be amended to the ‘first £250,000’ for a further three months, before reducing to the standard £125,000 in October.
Only in Scotland will the Stamp Duty Holiday end at the end of March, as Chancellor Rishi Sunak originally intended. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes explained that the ‘Holiday’ was introduced in order to ‘shore up’ the property market. That had indeed happened, she said, so there was no need to continue the initiative north of the border. Even during the original ‘Holiday’ period, the threshold for Scotland was only half that of England and Wales, at £250,000.
Housing deficit continually pushing prices up
As has been the case for so long, there remains a housing shortage. This, coupled with continued buyer demand for gardens and bigger homes, is giving sellers the upper-hand. Traditionally Spring has always been the best time to sell and this year looks as if it will be no exception.
Ongoing low interest rates and the introduction of the 95% mortgage initiative – where the government is encouraging lenders to provide high loan-to-value mortgages – is helping to fuel the demand. As well as first-time buyers, the mortgages will also be made available to second steppers looking for a larger home.
Rents income ‘up’ – except in London
Last month a report by upmarket property company Hamptons revealed an 8% increase in rental income in all areas of the UK with the exception of London. That was the highest rise in nearly a decade.
Rents had actually fallen in the capital by 17.7%. They also fell in Greater London, although to a lesser degree at 0.2% in comparison to the same month in 2020.