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Chain-free properties boom as sellers rent ahead of next move

Data from Rightmove suggests a sharp increase in the number of chain-free properties on the market because sellers are increasingly willing to rent before their next purchase.

The portal says 21 per cent of the available properties it lists are now chain-free, a jump from around 15 per cent this time last year.

This new trend is most acute in London, where 12 per cent of listed properties this time last year were chain free, whereas it’s 21 per cent today.

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Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister says: “We know that one of the reasons sellers are often hesitant to come to market is because they can’t find somewhere that they want to buy, but with record buyer demand and the stamp duty holiday being an added incentive for prospective buyers there seems to be a group of people who are choosing to sell up now and rent temporarily.

“Selling chain-free is perhaps something some owners hadn’t considered as a possibility before now, but with the competitive market and stock shortage we currently have they’re trying to put themselves in a more attractive position when their dream home comes along. In the capital there are also some landlords who are selling up now, which could open up an opportunity for some first-time buyers looking for their first home.”

In February the number of buyers searching for ‘no chain’ in Rightmove’s keyword sort tool was 72 per cent higher than in February 2020 as they rushed to make use of the stamp duty savings.

The portal says that the strongest sellers’ market in a decade means that currently almost two out of three properties on an agents’ books are sold subject to contract. There are signs however that new listings have been starting to improve over the past few weeks.

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