An industry group is predicting that record numbers of homes sold this year will be off-plan.
The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) believes the number of properties available for purchase before they have been constructed will soar to record levels during 2022 despite currently sitting below their peak.
The NAPB cites data from Rightmove showing 37% of new homes sold in England and Wales were sold off-plan, up from 35% in 2020 but down from the peak of 47% in 2017.
In 2021 24% of detached homes were sold off-plan (up from 21% in 2020), 33% of semi-detached homes (up from 31%), 45% of terraced homes (up from 41%), according to the NAPB.
Off-plan flat sales fell to 44% from 50% in 2020.
Off-plan buyers paid a record £1.1bn in deposits in 2021, compared with £348m in 2007, the NAPB says.
Jonathan Rolande, spokesman for the National Association of Property Buyers, expects the numbers to rise sharply in upcoming weeks.
He says: “The lockdown blip has seen the numbers sold off plan reduce but we expect these to rise quickly to match and overtake the previous high of 47% in 2017.
“City centre apartments will lead the increase with increasing numbers sold to owner occupiers rather than investors.
“Buyers love the certainty of fixing a price on a home at today’s value, no matter what the market does in the future during construction.”
Mr Rolande, also a director of House Buy Fast, suggests older buyers often take advantage of part exchanging the family home for a brand new apartment or smaller more manageable house but shouldn’t overlook new builds.
He adds “Buyers shouldn’t forget that new builds are premium products and are priced accordingly – there is often better value to be had in the second hand market.
“Buying off plan is a decision made out of a mix of personal preference and necessity, very often people commit early because they simply cannot find what they want elsewhere thanks to the incredible shortage of property coming to the market.”