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Northern towns bounce back better with surge in buyer demand

    • The top ten places with the biggest increase in buyer demand over the past two weeks compared to March are dominated by towns in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber
    • Picturesque and rural Hereford in the West Midlands is top of the list, and the seaside town of Hastings is the only place from the South to make the top ten list
    • The remaining eight are all in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber, with Wigan, Rochdale, Wilmslow and Scarborough making up the rest of the top five
    • Since the market reopened in England it’s typical family homes of three or four bedrooms that are achieving closest to asking price, with buyers agreeing to pay 98% on average in England
    • This compares to 97.5% of the asking price being achieved for first-time buyer properties and 97.4% for larger top of the ladder homes
Since the housing market reopened in England on Wednesday 13th May the release of pent-up demand has led to record levels of buyers enquiring about their next home.

Our new analysis, based on circa 95% of all properties for sale from estate agents, has found some of the strongest markets are currently in the north.

The demand study is based on the number of people phoning and emailing estate agents about properties for sale over the past two weeks, compared to the first two weeks in March. The average for England is an increase of 32%.

The top ten includes three places in Greater Manchester – Wigan, Rochdale and Bolton – perhaps as prospective buyers look to make their budget go further. Nine out of the top ten have average asking prices lower than the current average for England of £337,884. The only exception is the affluent town of Wilmslow where average asking prices are £461,535. Topping the list of best performers is historical Hereford in the West Midlands, and seaside town of Hastings makes it in as the only Southern area.


% increase in buyer demand

1st-14th June vs 1st-14th March

New seller average asking price

June 2020

Hereford 77% £233,400
Wigan 71% £165,448
Rochdale 66% £179,329
Wilmslow 63% £461,535
Scarborough 62% £172,332
Bolton 59% £183,062
Bradford 59% £141,266
Rotherham 56% £171,698
Hastings 56% £257,596
Accrington 56% £115,645


Number one in each region of England

Area Region

% increase in buyer demand

1st-14th June vs

1st-14th March

New seller average asking price

June 2020

Hereford West Midlands 77% £233,400
Wigan North West 71% £165,448
Scarborough Yorkshire & the Humber 62% £172,332
Hastings South East 56% £257,596
Truro South West 55% £259,050
Newcastle Upon Tyne North East 54% £197,585
Sudbury East of England 54% £259,475
Chesterfield East Midlands 43% £206,996


Top ten biggest cities in England (based on number of listings on Rightmove)


% increase in buyer demand

1st-14th June vs 1st-14th March

New seller average asking price

June 2020

London 19% £628,284
Manchester 21% £215,333
Birmingham 26% £241,207
Liverpool 39% £157,899
Bristol 28% £330,691
Nottingham 18% £225,233
Sheffield 31% £189,747
Leicester 24% £228,458
Newcastle Upon Tyne 54% £170,803
Leeds 25% £217,402


We also conducted a separate study to look at the prices of over 7,000 newly agreed sales, provided to us by some of the country’s largest property groups.

This shows that agents selling typical ‘second stepper’ homes, those which have three or four bedrooms homes excluding four bedroom detached properties, are achieving closest to the last advertised asking price on Rightmove when agreeing a sale. The findings are similar to our analysis from earlier this month that found bigger, more spacious, homes have made it into the top five most sought-after property types, replacing flats.


Property sector

New seller average asking price in England

% of asking price achieved

13th May to 4th June 2020


First-time buyer

(two bedrooms or fewer)






Second stepper

(three and four bed homes excluding four bed detached)





Top of the ladder

(Four bed detached and five beds above)






Most sought after property type

May 2019

Most sought after property type

January 2020

Most sought after property type

May 2020

One bed house Three bed house Three bed house
Two bed house Two bed house Two bed house
Three bed house Three bed flat One bed house
Three bed flat One bed house Four bed house
One bed flat Two bed flat Six bed house


Miles Shipside, Rightmove Director and Housing Market Analyst said: “The fact that towns are bouncing back better than bigger cities is indicative of many prospective buyers choosing smaller areas to live, but still looking for places that will have all the facilities they need on their doorstep. Many of the towns in the list have cheaper prices so a buyer’s budget goes further allowing extra space for possible home-working and gardens for private relaxation.

“Our new analysis of the prices that buyers are agreeing to pay shows that properties in the typical family home or second stepper sector are achieving closest to their asking prices. If you exclude London and some more expensive areas in the south then these types of home are typically in the £250,000 to £500,000 price band. These are currently appealing because they’re likely to benefit from more space and a private garden, attributes that home-movers tell us are now even more important than before lockdown.

“There are still 175,000 sellers missing that would usually have come to market when it was closed, so sales agreed numbers will take a while to recover to normal levels, and much hinges on the deals that lenders are able to offer buyers in the current market.”


Agents’ Views


Steven Thomas, Director of Watkins Thomas in Hereford, says: “Our market has been very busy since we were able to reopen in May. There’s been a shift in the type of buyer since before lockdown. We were dealing with a lot of first-time buyers with limited deposits in March, but now it’s families looking for more space. It’s a bit like what we see in January – families spend Christmas sitting down and talking about their next move and they get going in January. We’re now seeing people, having sat down during lockdown and reviewed what they’re looking for, jumping into action in June. June and July is often quieter for us because this group of buyers are usually away, so that’s why we’re seeing a surge of late spring buyers. There’s also a lot of real interest coming from the South East, from people in their 50’s and 60’s realising they can get a lot more for their money and can live in an area with acres of open countryside.”


Kristian Derrick, Director of Ashtons in Wigan, says: “Since the market reopened we’re finding that the majority of our three and four bed homes are selling for at least asking price, with many going to sealed bids with a number of buyers interested. Typically these buyers have been local families looking for more space. We’ve also seen a big increase in the buy-to-let market, with investors able to purchase a terraced home in relatively good condition in a good area for under £100,000.”