Property prices in Britain are hitting an all-time high post-lockdown, raising the average to £320,265. A combination of increased demand following months of inaction and the rise in the stamp duty threshold seem to have contributed to price hikes, and average asking prices are 2.4% higher than they were in March 2020.
Estate agents reported a 75% increase in viewing inquiries in compared to the same period in 2019, and almost half of all new listings that were put up for sale in the month following the opening of the market in May have already been marked as ‘sale agreed’. Overall, the number of monthly sales agreed in England is up by 15% – in the week following the stamp duty announcement, this jumped to 35%.
The busy spring market was obviously put on hold due to lockdown, leaving buyers sitting on their hands until things opened up again, resulting in a flurry of activity since May, when the Government updated their guidelines on moving home. Prospective buyers have also been adjusting their priorities, making significant changes to what they are looking for in a new home, with an emphasis on access to outside space and the potential for a home office.
The strength of this demand, along with the lure of the scrapped stamp duty charges, has naturally pushed up asking prices, and sellers are taking advantage of the market while it lasts. However, it’s important that sellers don’t overprice, due to the uncertain economic outlook, and the continuing limits on mortgage lending.
First time buyers, who already benefited from increased stamp duty limits, may also find more opportunities coming their way as lenders begin to bring back low deposit first time buyer mortgages. This in turn will boost the market all the way up the ladder, allowing others to trade upward and take advantage of the current boom.
Property experts are advising that buyers try to get a deal in place before Christmas if they want to take advantage of the stamp duty changes, so if you had plans to move this year, it’s time to get things moving!
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