Looking back over the last 12 months it is safe to say that the housing market, certainly in our part of the world, has undoubtedly been buoyant.
The pandemic-led ‘search for space’ has added fuel to what was predicted to be a good year for house sales, following a number of years of Brexit-led uncertainty. After the initial lockdown period ended in May 2020 there was an influx of both buyers and new houses coming to market, making for a very balanced market. We have seen this balance start to shift, with a slowdown in new stock coming to market but buyer demand still strong.
In a recent House Price Index Report Zoopla state that buyer demand is up 27.5% so far this year compared to average levels in 2020. However, the supply of homes for sale remains tight, especially family houses. Furthermore, the total number of homes listed for sale so far this year is 19% lower than average levels recorded in 2020, despite the 50-day closure of the housing market in England (and longer in Wales and Scotland) last year when little-to-no homes were put up for sale.
The third lockdown also saw an increased lag time between homeowners looking for a new property and listing their current home for sale, further exacerbating the imbalance between supply and demand. That said, the tide does appear to be turning, with evidence suggesting listings have started to rise again since schools re-opened.
What's the outlook?
The balance between supply and demand will start to naturally settle as the year rolls on. The Covid- induced ‘search for space’ will continue to some degree as some office based businesses are now confirming how their working practices will look in the longer-term and this will open up opportunities to some homeowners. The Government backed 95% mortgages will also mean more demand from first-time buyers. The stamp-duty holiday will come to an end later in the year, with a step withdrawal, meaning savings can still be made on homes completing up to September. Mortgage products continue to provide home buyers favourable rates.
House prices in our corner of Surrey remain really strong and with buyer demand at its current levels now is a really good time to be selling a property.
Should you need any advice on preparing your home for sale, we would be delighted to help. Contact your local office today.