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Busiest Ever Autumn? Buyers up, prices up, delays up, supply up

There are 140,000 more buyers waiting to complete on their properties right now than there were this time last year.

The claim, by Zoopla, is backed up by extensive research which says that because of record sales agreed since the end of lockdown, there are 50 per cent more homes progressing through the system than this time last year as buyers rush to meet the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31.

Zoopla estimates there are currently 418,000 sales in the pipeline yet to complete; these sales are worth £112 billion. Sales agreed hit an annual high in August, which showed a 62 per cent year-on-year uplift.


The market has slowed since then but only slightly - sales agreed are currently running at a 53 per cent year-on-year uplift this month in comparison to October 2019. 

On a regional basis, sales agreed year to date are up the most in the South East region by 15 per cent, followed by London (12 per cent) and the East of England (11 per cent). 

Other key findings by the portal are:

- transactions are taking just over 100 days from sales agreed to completion, but the volume of business means this could increase in the short term – the portal emphasises this isn't a measure of speed of sale, but instead measures time between when sales are agreed to when buyers exchange;

- more demand has brought more supply with the number of homes for sale now up 18 per cent on last year;

- strength of demand means prices are rising, up 3.0 per cent over the last 12 months compared to 1.1 per cent this time last year;

- sales activity is becoming more polarised, with a recent decline in sales in less wealthy demographics reliant on higher Loan To Value mortgages to buy a home, and rising sales in wealthier areas less-mortgage reliant and with more property equity;

- the recession and rising unemployment is impacting parts of the market but this is masked by the strength of activity over the summer. This polarisation will become more apparent by mid-2021, after the curent rush has worked its way through the system.

“Levels of housing market activity are slowly becoming less frantic as we approach the year end. There is a sizeable pipeline of business for the property, lending and conveyancing industry to convert into completed sales before Christmas and into Q1 2021” according to Richard Donnell, the research and insight director at Zoopla.

“The stamp duty deadline will focus the minds of committed movers in the near term, which will support sales volumes and make for a strong first quarter of sales completions in 2021. 

“Those who leave it to January to start their search for a home will be cutting it fine - just half of sales agreed in January will convert into a completed sale by the end of March so those looking to beat the stamp duty deadline will need to be well prepared. Finding an agent before Christmas and instructing a conveyancer to prepare all the sellers legal information will be essential to boosting the chances of saving up to £15,000.

“House price growth continues to move higher as the weight of demand pushes the growth rate upwards and we expect prices to be four per cent higher by the end of 2020. 

“However, the strength of the market nationally is masking weakness in parts of the market where sales are slowing in areas where households are typically on lower incomes and more sensitive to economic uncertainty and more restricted credit availability. This market polarisation is set to become a growing feature of the market as we move into 2021.”  

Busiest Ever Autumn? Buyers up, prices up, delays up, supply up


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