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Across Great Britain almost two out of every three properties are currently SSTC

  • Newquay in Cornwall has been named the hottest seller’s market right now, with 82% of all properties put up for sale this year already sold subject to contract
  • City centres are still moving much more slowly, with Birmingham city centre the top buyer’s market, where only 18% of properties are sold subject to contract
  • The greatest excess of demand over supply over the past ten years means almost two out of every three properties on an agent’s books are currently sold subject to contract
  • The start of restrictions easing has increased activity in what was already an incredibly busy housing market, with activity records on Rightmove tumbling week after week

New data out today reveals the hottest seller and buyer markets across Britain, as agents report widespread stock shortages due to the frenzied pace of the market.

Newquay in Cornwall has been named the hottest seller’s market, where eight out of every ten homes put up for sale this year are sold subject to contract (SSTC). Next in the top ten is Newton-Le-Willows in Merseyside, where just under 82% of properties are SSTC, followed by Plymstock in Devon with 81% currently SSTC.

All areas of the top ten hottest seller markets have seen asking prices hit records since the market reopened in May 2020, with seven of the 10 hitting a price record this year. The study is based on just under 300,000 properties that have come up for sale since the start of 2021.

In stark contrast there are a number of city centres where around one in five properties are marked SSTC. In Birmingham city centre 18% of properties are marked SSTC, and in Liverpool city centre 22% are marked SSTC.

Other areas outside of city centres in the top ten buyer markets include the more expensive locations of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire where average asking prices are over £1 million, and Sunbury-on-Thames with average asking prices over £500,000.

Across Great Britain almost two out of every three properties are currently SSTC, and available stock is down 26% on this time last year, though this does compare to when the housing market was closed in April 2020. New properties coming up for sale greatly improved in March and were 51% higher than in February, but demand is still outstripping supply in a number of areas.

Market momentum has been building further over the past few months. So far this year Rightmove has recorded 20 of its busiest ever days for visits to the site, with a new record set last Wednesday 7th April when there were over 9.3 million visits. On Tuesday 6th April there was a new record set for the number of people sending enquiries to agents about properties up for sale, beating the previous record set on 22nd March last month.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said: “Areas around the North and South West are the stand-out seller’s markets right now, and places in Cornwall and Devon are continuing the trend of a desire to move to the seaside and countryside. Suburbs are also faring well as some people move further out from the centre of cities. Both sale and rental properties in city centres have been suffering over the past year as the usual appeal to live there has temporarily been taken away, leading to more stock than usual being available, but we may see these start to shift more quickly over the next few months as lockdown restrictions continue to be removed.

“In a traditional year there would be a couple of record days for visits or enquiries being sent by home-hunters, but the pace of the current market caused by a combination of restrictions easing, a desire for more space and people considering different locations, has led to records tumbling week after week. Last Wednesday set a record of over 9.3 million visits to Rightmove, and March saw time spent on site surpass two billion minutes in a month for the first time.”

Agents’ views

Bradley Start, Partner at Start & Co Estate Agents in Newquay, said: “The stock shortage is the worst I’ve seen in thirty years and there’s just seemingly endless demand. We’re getting requests for viewings within minutes of a property going on Rightmove and many properties are going to best and final offers due to the competition, something that usually we would only see a few times a year. It’s a mix of locals moving, people buying holiday homes and those relocating completely, which is leading to more out-of-town buyers than we would normally see. Those who are choosing to relocate are, understandably, looking for a home right by the sea, which is pushing up demand even more for those homes with the all-coveted sea view. The lack of stock I think is mostly down to the fact that sellers are unsure that they will be able to find a replacement property to buy, but if more sellers decided to come to market this would help across the whole chain.”

Simon Shepherd, Branch Manager of Ashtons in Newton-Le-Willows said: “The train station and high street have had a lot of development over the past few years which had already been increasing activity here, but the past year has just been crazy. First-time buyers are queuing up for starter homes, and many of those moving from starter homes are looking for four bed detached homes which are few and far between so when one comes up for sale it’s snapped up immediately, especially those that are within walking distance to the high street. Some people are selling up their smaller houses closer into Liverpool and moving out here as well, which has pushed up prices to an all-time high. Right now I’ve had to rip up the rule book because the demand means it’s hard to predict what a home is going to sell for, as in many cases we’re achieving over the asking price.”

Top ten seller’s market areas Location % of properties that are Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) Average asking price 2021
Newquay, Cornwall 82.0% £351,398
Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside 81.8% £182,280
Plymstock, Devon 81.2% £268,980
Hailsham, East Sussex 81.1% £310,642
Canvey Island, Essex 80.5% £302,769
Atherton, Manchester 80.3% £153,540