The chance of home sellers finding a buyer in the current market has jumped to an all-time high over the last year, the latest data from the UK’s largest property portal Rightmove reveal.
The analysis of more than 13 million listings typically traced the journey of a property from the time it went on sale to when it was sold subject to contract. Sales that fell through but went on to secure a buyer were counted only once.
Across the UK, 68pc of sellers were successful in finding a buyer between June 2020 and June 2021, a rise from 41pc in 2012 and the highest figure in any year over the past ten. From 2012 until early 2020, 53pc of homes were sold on average, while 47pc were either withdrawn from sale or remained on the market.
Scotland was triumphant with 89pc of homes being sold, compared to 48pc in London. In second place was Yorkshire and the Humber, with 77pc of sellers being successful.
Regions at the top of the list in Scotland include Falkirk and East Dunbartonshire where 94pc of sellers found a buyer, whereas at the bottom of the list, they struggled to achieve results, even in high-end locations such as Westminster (22pc), Kensington and Chelsea (25pc) and Camden (28pc).
Greater chance of sellers finding buyers
Tim Bannister, Director of Property Data at Rightmove, commented that there’s been a much greater chance of sellers finding a buyer over the past year, such is the sheer number of people who have been determined to move. While the long-term average shows that typically around half of properties sell, the increase in 2021 reflects the manic buyer activity seen in the current market, driven by factors such as pent-up demand and changing priorities on the part of buyers.
Effectively, this efficiency in the market means agents are operating with limited stock and need more sellers to free up homes to satisfy all kinds of buyers. Previous research has shown that Scotland often has the most likely locations to attract buyers, and London the least. However, the broader numbers reflect the trend seen all year, which is that buyers have extended their reach, so that every area in the UK is increasing in popularity.
Yet the current growth in the property market is predicted to flatten out. Conveyancing comparison site, reallymoving, analysed data from 29,000 conveyancing quotation forms completed online over the last three months, providing one of the earliest snapshots of housing market activity. Quotation volumes peaked in March at more than double the usual level and remained high in April but dropped by 13pc in May and a further 18pc in June, suggesting buyer demand is beginning to fall away.
Growth to become more subdued
Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving, said a slowdown in the extraordinary rate of growth seen over the last few months was inevitable and looking ahead to the next three months, the data indicate that the market is easing, which will be reflected in completed sales data in the autumn. As the influence of the stamp duty holiday has largely waned along with early signs that buyer demand is returning to more normal levels, consumers can expect prices to follow suit and return to a more stable pattern of growth.
Houghton believes the market will continue to perform well over the longer term, despite this period of readjustment. The rise in home-working will, no doubt, continue to influence home buyers for some time, as work arrangements for many have yet to be road-tested and finalised.
Inevitably, there was a section of the buying public who realised pretty soon that rising prices were cancelling out any tax savings and decided to hold off until the market cooled. They and first-time buyers, who by and large didn’t benefit from the stamp duty saving, may decide to make a move later in the year.