March market snapshot

Here is our latest property market snapshot, we hope you find it useful. For a local, expert summary don't hesitate to contact your nearest Ocean office, they'll have an up-to-the-minute summary of what's actually happening in your neighbourhood. 

Rightmove comment - "Given the expected loss of market momentum with the impending end of the tax holidays, Rightmove’s whole-of-market view shows some surprisingly buoyant data. After three consecutive monthly falls, the average price of property coming to market has risen by 0.5% (+£1,522) this month. This is being fuelled by both a shortage of supply with fewer new sellers coming to market, and increased demand, with all our indicators of buyer activity being ahead of the same period last year. This new buyer demand surge is building momentum, and as it is now far too late to realistically complete a new purchase before the stamp duty holiday ends on the 31st March, it would appear that many buyers’ desires to move are not dependent on the potential saving"

And the update by week 3 of March is - 

Greatest excess of demand over supply over the past ten years, pushing up the average price of property coming to market by 0.8% (+£ 2,484 ) this month.
• Number of potential buyers enquiring about each available property in the month is at a record and is 34 %
higher than the same period a year ago, which was itself an active market before the first lockdown
• With sales already agreed for almost two out of three properties on agents’ books, buyers eagerly await fresh
choice coming to market, making this the best sellers’ market of the past ten years
• Start of traditional spring selling period sees the number of sales agreed for the first week in March up by 12% on
prior year despite a shortage of available stock
• Daily average of over seven million visits to Rightmove in February, 40% up on February 2020
• Early signs that more owners are now deciding to market their properties, spurred by incentives and lockdown easing
• New listing numbers see building momentum in weekly run rate, only 5% down during the first week of March compared to 20% down for the month of February

Here are some other facts for us to consider


The UK economy is predicted to grow by 4% over 2021 and 7.3% over 2022, set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2022. The latest forecast by the Office for Budget responsibility now expects a faster and more sustained economic recovery than forecast in November. The government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September. The scheme has supported over 11 million jobs since March 2020. Those in self-employment will also be entitled to further grant assistance.


(Source Rightmove)


In December the UK HPI (ONS) reported an 8.5% annual increase in house prices. February Nationwide House Price Index saw a monthly increase of 0.7%, following a -0.2% monthly decline in January. The rumoured stamp duty extension helping to maintain housing market demand. The RICS January survey reported a net balance of +50% of participants reporting an increase in house prices, signalling a significant degree of upward pressure on prices, albeit down from +63% in both November and December.


An estimated 121,640 transactions (seasonally adjusted) were recorded in January 2021, the highest January total since 2007 and 24.1% higher than January 2020 (HMRC). Transaction numbers remain high as many seek to complete purchases prior to the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline, currently the end of March.

The Chancellor has announced an extension to the Stamp Duty Holiday to the end of June 2021 for purchases up to £500,000 in England, buyers able to make a saving of up to £15,000. From 1 July - 30 September no Stamp Duty will be payable on main home purchases up to £250,000, buyers able to make a saving of up to £2,500. From 1st October, the Stamp Duty rates will revert to normal.


The first week in February versus 2020 saw Rightmove visits up 45%, with keen home-hunters sending 18% more enquiries, and the number of purchases agreed up by 7%. High demand is outstripping supply and pushing up prices. The number of new sellers coming to market is 21% down over the last four weeks when compared with the prior year. Worst affected are the sectors one might expect to be juggling home-schooling responsibilities alongside daily life, which appear to be delaying some owners of family homes from coming to market. The ‘second stepper and ‘top of the ladder’ sectors with three bedrooms or more see 25% fewer new listings between them. In contrast, properties with two bedrooms or fewer are only down by 16% say Rightmove.

98,994 mortgages were approved in January 2021, 50% higher than in January 2020 and at £24.3 billion, gross lending was at its highest monthly figure since March 2016. Mortgage approvals have slowed, -3.7% fewer approved in January 2021 than in December 2020.  

And finally one further consideration, the average time to sell. Ocean property lawyers can certainly confirm high demand for conveyancing services and extremely high levels of caseloads has extended time to legally sell timeframes. We highly recommend sellers consider their 'legal kerb appeal' when deciding to move.  

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