According to Rightmove (4 September) one in seven properties are under offer within a week of going to the market following what can only be described as a buying frenzy.
The number of homes selling within one week has hit a 10-year high and since the threshold change for Stamp Duty (LBTT) was announced across the UK in July, the number of sales agreed is up 125% on the same period last year and 28% up on February 2018, Rightmove’s previous high. The stamp duty holiday has accelerated the moves of second steppers seeking larger family homes with space to enable more home working. In addition, the lockdown has highlighted the importance of outside space.
Whilst Scotland has the UK’s fastest selling market, London is the slowest with only one in nine homes sold within the first week that it went to market.
In the 10 years in which Rightmove has been tracking data, they have discovered that more properties are selling now than at any time. The fastest selling properties are three-bedroom semi-detached houses. In London the share is a fifth of agreed sales but in Scotland it’s a third of all sales.
It is believed that the current property boom is being driven by transactions of larger three and four-bedroom family homes as buyers rush to save on LBTT.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to raise the nil-rate band from £125,000 to £500,000 for homes across England and Northern Ireland means that buyers are able to save as much as £15,000 when purchasing their home before the March 31st 2021 deadline. The move was followed by similar measures in Scotland and Wales.
However, at entry level, buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get onto the property ladder as larger deposits are required compared to pre-lockdown. Lenders have withdrawn several low deposit mortgage deals due to fears of falling house prices and the limit on surveyors being able to conduct physical property valuations. However, these are slowly being introduced back into the market by lenders. High loan-to-value mortgages are still available but have more restrictions.
The good news is that first time buyers can still take advantage of the First Home Fund and Help to Buy (Scotland) to get onto the property ladder with just a 5% deposit, making buying a first home a reality for many.
If you are considering moving, it’s important to act now as there are currently some delays following lockdown – so even if a sale is agreed quickly the sale could take longer to complete.
If you are seeking a mortgage or would like advice on mortgage availability for first time buyers talk to us at The Mortgage Hub and we will endeavour to help.