Sales of homes are being agreed at a faster pace than they are completed, contributing to the biggest pipeline of transactions in a decade, property portal Rightmove has said.
Some 704,000 homes on its website are currently marked as ‘sold subject to contract’, which means the sale has been agreed, but contracts are not yet exchanged.
This is the highest number Rightmove has seen in a decade, and an extra 308,500, or a surge of 78 per cent, compared to this time in 2019.
Home buying frenzy: Some 704,000 homes on Rightmove’s website are currently marked as ‘sold subject to contract’ – the biggest pipeline in a decade
‘The easing of restrictions, extended stamp duty holiday, better mortgage availability for first-time buyers, race for space and relocation plans have all combined to create the biggest conveyancing logjam we’ve ever recorded over the past ten years,’ Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister said.
At the start of the year the sales pipeline across Britain stood at 613,000, and Rightmove had anticipated a ‘quieter’ second quarter, but that failed to materialise.
‘Buyer demand and the pipeline has continued at pace, making it an incredibly busy time for agents and conveyancers in many areas right now,’ Bannister added.
The ‘frenzied’ market over the past few months has led to homes being marked as sale agreed at a quicker rate than they are completing, Rightmove said.
The pace of properties coming on and off the market is also the quickest the portal recorded.
‘Agents are telling me they have multiple viewings followed by a number of offers within days of a property first appearing on Rightmove,’ Bannister added.
Of the 704,000 sales currently going through, some 220,000 were marked under offer between July last year and the end of February this year in England and are yet to complete.
With the average time from sale agreed to completion currently at four months, thousands are at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday, Rightmove said
With the average time from sale agreed to completion currently at four months, thousands are at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday.
Rightmove said that of the 220,000 agreed sales, there are 131,000 that are over £250,000, making this group ‘in most urgent need to get their sale over the line before the end of June’.
Under the current rules, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £500,000 of a property purchase until 30 June – saving buyers up to £15,000 compared to normal tax rates.
After that, there will also be no stamp duty charged on the first £250,000 of a property purchase until the end of September – saving buyers a maximum of £5,000.
However, many buyers seem to be undeterred by the stamp duty holiday deadline, according to the portal’s survey of nearly 8,000 home buyers looking to buy a home this September.
More than half said they would go ahead as planned regardless of whether they can take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
However, one in four, or 25 per cent, said they would try to renegotiate with the seller, and 13 per cent said they would plan to buy a cheaper home.
Only 4 per cent of people said they would abandon their plans to buy a home completely if they missed either the June or September deadline.
And only 29 per cent of home buyers surveyed said they expected to complete the sale in time to make use of the stamp duty holiday.
‘The most common reasons for moving are to move to a bigger home, if someone comes across the right property, relocating to the countryside or the coast, and moving to a home with a garden,’ Rightmove said.
It comes as house prices reached another record high in May, with the average home adding more than £3,000 of value in the last month alone, according to the Halifax price index.
With the country tentatively unlocking and many families unable to go on foreign holidays, Nicky Stevenson, managing director of estate agent Fine & Country, is predicting the housing boom will continue throughout the summer.
‘The market normally has a lull in the summer months but, now almost all foreign holidays appear to be off, there’s nothing stopping the freight train that is unbridled demand from crashing straight through June, July and August,’ she said.
‘Pandemic prompts a third of millennials to move house in quest for better quality of life’
The pandemic had a ‘transformative’ impact on young UK employees as many havedecided to move home to have a better quality of life, according to a new survey.
More than a third of those aged 18-34 moved house for this reason, a survey of 2,000 employees by asset manager Close Brothers has found.
In comparison, only 9 per cent of those aged 55 or over are thinking of doing the same.
Employees in London were the most eager to make the change, with 38 per cent saying they had moved home to have a better quality of life.
That is a significantly higher proportion than in the East Midlands and the East of England, where only 23 per cent moved, and than in the North East, where 9 per cent changed house.