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Village hotspots where property sales have overtaken all of 2019

  • Despite weeks of lockdown market closure and with almost four months left until the end of this year, 16 hotspot locations are already seeing the number of sales being agreed by estate agents surpassing their total for all of 2019
  • Villages make up over half of the hotspot locations as more home-movers escape to the country:
    • Sales agreed in Fair Oak, Hampshire are already up 27% compared to all of last year, and 78% higher when comparing the year so far with the same period in 2019
    • Essex villages Kirby Cross and Stanway make the list, with Formby, Handforth and Choppington representing the North
  • Nationally, sales agreed numbers are now down just 6% year-to-date compared to last year

The lure of village life has led to agents finding buyers for more homes so far this year than for the total achieved across the whole of 2019, in 16 of the hottest local markets in Great Britain.

This is despite the seven week market closure between March and May, and with almost four months of activity still to go.

While nationally the market is still playing catch up, now down 6% year-to-date on the same period in 2019, these local markets are well on track to recording a significantly higher number of transactions by the end of the year than they did in 2019.

The number of sales that have been agreed in the village of Fair Oak, located between Winchester and Southampton, is already up by over a quarter (27%) when comparing 1st January to 6th September of this year, with the full year of 2019. This increases to a massive 78% when comparing 1st January to 6th September with the same time period in 2019, and takes the top spot on the list. Asking prices in the area are up 6% compared to last year, at £364,066.

Second on the list is the affluent civil parish of Formby, home to one of the most expensive streets in Merseyside, where sales agreed are up 12% compared to all of 2019, and 55% up comparing the year to date. Agents report that properties that last year would have taken three months to find a buyer are being snapped up within days.

There are no areas of London where sales numbers have overtaken 2019’s full year figures yet, but end-of-the-tube-line Upminster is the strongest market, with sales agreed up 42% so far this year on the same period last year.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside, says: “The national sales agreed trend is an important and early indicator of future completed transactions and it’s encouraging to see that whilst it’s still playing catch up, it has been improving at pace over the past few months. National statistics are drawn from hundreds of local markets, with villages and market towns peppered across the country benefitting most from the post-lockdown boom in activity and a shift in buyers seeking out more serene scenery. This is great news for sellers thinking of coming to market in these areas, but it will exacerbate the bottle neck that’s continuing to brew for conveyancers already finding it challenging to handle the surge in deals being done. The key now will be for would-be sellers and those already on the market to get as much legally required information about their home ready as possible, to help create a speedier buying and selling process.”

Agents’ Views

Harriet Robinson, Sales Negotiator at Entwistle Green in Formby says: “Bigger homes that last year were taking around three months to sell are now selling within days. Buyers are saying they’ve realised their current home is too small and no longer fits with their new way of life, now that they’re working from home a few days a week. We’ve a lot of local buyers but also people moving up from the south, as they can get a four bed detached house for £500,000 up here. It’s a leafy suburb but also close to the coast, and at the same time you can drive to the centre of Liverpool within 20 minutes. Although the average asking price is higher than some nearby areas we’re still seeing more first-time buyers than before, especially looking for renovation properties which are typically lower than market value.”

George Barker, Sales negotiator at White & Guard in Fair Oak, says: “The pace of the market has been quite astounding, especially since the stamp duty announcement in July as our core market is selling properties between £300,000 and £500,000 where buyers can make the biggest savings. As we’re only a 15 minute commute away from Southampton buyers can live in a more rural area but have a quick commute on the days they’re going in to the office. A spare room has become a must-have, people are looking for either an extra reception room or an outhouse in the garden that they can convert into an office. I really didn’t think it would be possible to be in a position where buyers have already been found for more homes than for all of last year, but the stamp duty holiday has given the area a helping hand.”