Residential Property specialist, Victoria Cranwell, considers figures released this month by Rightmove supporting evidence on the ground that the housing market is as busy as ever.
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The approaching end of the Stamp Duty holiday in September triggered a modest cooling of the housing market, which was widely expected to continue into early 2022. But as we have moved through October, news from our conveyancing teams and estate agents across the region suggests the dip was just a temporary one.
Indeed, this word from the coalface is supported by the Rightmove House Price Index for October 2021. It suggests the price of properties coming to the market his month have increased on average by 1.8% or £5,983, the biggest October rise since 2015.
Record house prices across the regions
For the first time since March 2007, the market has seen price records in all regions of the country and in all property market sectors – first-time buyer, second stepper and top of the ladder.
According to Rightmove, the average asking prices for each region this month are:
- South West – £359,906
- North East – £167,935
- Yorkshire and the Humber – £221,291
- North West – £232,639
- East Midlands – £267,095
- West Midlands – £263,008
- East of England – £396,232
- London – £650,683
- Wales – £237,830
- Scotland – £174,934
In terms of the type of property, the average price of a typical first-time buyer home is now £210,672, with the cost for buyers taking their second step reaching £315,486, and £630,819 for those reaching the top of the property ladder.
Why is the market still so strong?
It’s apparent that although the incentive of the Stamp Duty holiday stirred many people to action – buyers and sellers – there was also a sizeable number in both camps keen to wait for the feeding frenzy to end. The figures from Rightmove suggest this was the case even before the guillotine fell on 30th September. The number of sales agreed in September – when there was no expectation of meeting the deadline – was up 15.2% compared to 2019’s ‘normal’ market comparison.
As nervous eyes turn to the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, it’s also apparent that some buyers are keen to take advantage of a window of opportunity before a potential rise in interest rates.
While the number of new properties coming to market has increased since the summer, it’s still insufficient to satisfy the current strong demand from buyers. And this is probably the primary factor in driving up prices.