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New sellers spring into action and new record for home-hunter visits

  • The spring selling season has started at a level not seen in a decade, with the number of sales being agreed on Tuesday 23rd March being the highest daily number recorded over the past ten years
  • A new record was set for visits by home-hunters to Rightmove this week, with over 9.1 million visits on Wednesday 24th March
  • New sellers have also jumped into action, with Wednesday seeing the highest daily number of new properties coming up for sale in one day so far this year
  • In March so far new listings are already up 17% on the total number listed for the month of February, and 28% higher than in January
  • New listings coming on are still not satisfying record buyer demand, with available stock down nationally by 25% year-on-year

The latest snapshot of buyer and seller activity on Rightmove suggests this year’s spring selling season is blooming, with the highest number of property sales occurring in one day within the past decade on Tuesday 23rd March.

Visits to Rightmove surpassed the level recorded on Budget day on Wednesday 3rd March, hitting a new record on Tuesday of this week and then again on Wednesday, when visits were over 9.1 million.

Evidence of the strength of the sellers’ market is clear from an agent in Saffron Walden who had 18 viewings in 24 hours this week on a £1.2 million property which is set to go to best and final offers, and he says that the number of London buyers looking to move there has more than doubled since this time last year.

New listings had a slower start than usual in the first few months of the year, leading to a market with the greatest excess of demand over supply over the past ten years. The weekly number of listings coming to market is now improving, and this week saw the highest for the year so far, and the highest since October last year.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister says: “The promise of better weather on the way as we move in to Spring, hopefully an easing of restrictions, and kids now back in school have all helped boost listing numbers. As we head into half-term agents are reporting a frenzy of activity in some areas, with multiple offers from buyers at asking price and above. It’s very much a sellers’ market with Tuesday this week seeing a daily rate of sales agreed not seen in the past ten years. The lack of stock is still an issue but there are definitely some green shoots starting to emerge with listing numbers improving. There are definite signs that those sellers who were waiting earlier in the year are now making the most of the spring selling season and, with gardens starting to blossom, it’s a particularly good time to showcase these types of features to the growing number of buyers looking for more outdoor space.”

Agents’ views 

Bruce King, Director, Cheffins in Saffron Walden: “The past few months has been of the busiest markets we have seen in years as the combination of lockdown, the stamp duty holiday and the 5% mortgage scheme has created the perfect conditions for buyers to look to move house. We have seen bidding wars on multiple properties and in fact, a house which we launched this week at £1.2m, saw 18 viewings booked in 24 hours and looks set to go to best and final offers. There has been a massive lack of stock at the upper end and there is a raft of buyers out there, all of whom are getting frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the market. The number of London-based buyers looking to move to Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages has more than doubled since the pandemic struck. One of the other drivers in the market is also the accidental savers out there, those people who have managed to increase their deposits by saving during the pandemic. The arrival of Spring, the vaccination roll out, the prospects of pubs opening and life going back to normal has had a huge psychological effect on people. The combination of these factors is what is encouraging people to take the plunge and sell up and the majority who I speak to are taking a pragmatic view on saving on stamp duty with this being a positive of course, but not an essential.”

 Mark Manning, Managing Director of Yorkshire-based Manning Stainton, said: “There’s an unquenchable thirst for property across every corner of the market and the average price being achieved by our team now stands at 99.4% asking price. This unprecedented level of demand has led to many best and final offer scenarios with our team having to carefully manage the expectations of buyers through that process. We believe that whilst the Stamp Duty deadline has and remains a key driver for those buyers looking in the market today, even beyond its progressive end in June and September it will not change significantly the level of demand we are seeing and prices will continue to rise.”