The monthly UK house price statistics for April are in – Here are our main takeaways….
The pandemic has caused a lot of disruption for many industries, not just the property market. The year began with the highest number of sales agreed since 2016, pre-lockdown figures showed agreed sales, to 23rd March, were up 11% on the same period last year.
With the reduced amount of properties coming on to the market, new seller asking prices are just not meaningful. Although Rightmove reports the average asking price, of the daily dwindling number of properties coming to the market, between 8th March to 11th April, saw a monthly price fall of 0.2% to £311,950 – the annual rate of increase from last April being 2.1%. The total available stock for sale is down just 2.6% since lockdown, meaning existing sellers are staying on the market.
Agents continue to operate during the current lock down situation, focusing on holding together sales already agreed. Many agents, including Seddons offer virtual viewings and valuations to keep activity going.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst observes: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together. While some buyers may express concern over the possibility of short-term dips in house prices, many are taking the longer-term view and living up to their commitments to proceed. This is being helped by mortgage lenders extending the life of existing mortgage offers by three months, and new legal rules on flexible completion dates.”
The Government has provided unprecedented support for people and businesses and this will need to continue once the lockdown draws to a close. Recovery could see Government incentives such as stamp duty holidays, extension of Help to Buy and perhaps the encouragement of mortgage lending.
Shipside comments: “We think it will take several months or more for the market to find its feet in this new unsteady world. Once the lockdown ends, agents will have to follow safe viewing precautions to give sellers the confidence to again allow viewers into their own homes, and buyers the confidence that they can safely visit homes that are for sale. During this slow-motion period we do not expect significant price falls, as home sellers will not be prepared to cut their prices while it is still not clear how the general public, businesses, financial markets, and the government are going to handle the transition to whatever turns out to be the new normal.”
If you are looking to sell your property once the lockdown eases, our advice would be to make a start now to be ready for the post quarantine bounce. Once the uncertainty of the current period is out of the way and we start to understand the way forward, buyers will regain any slight loss of confidence once more. Get in touch with us for a free property consultation.