With many looking toward the increasing squeeze on personal finances in the wider context of the national and global economies, the ever-present conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing issues as we continue our journey onwards from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic 2022 was to be the year the property market cooled and 'normalised'.
As we stand in April 2022 there are no signs of cooling and buyer decisiveness remains the buzzphrase as supply continues to fail to meet demand in the property market.
- 75% of buyers are confident they will purchase in next three months
- 82% of sellers are confident they will sell within the next three months
- 64% of properties were Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) within 30 days of first being advertised for sale
The last figure above is an increase of 13% on the 51% figure from March 2021 and a clear indication that buyer demand not only remains strong but has grown significantly in the last 12 months.
The increase in the Bank of England base rate, the increased scrutiny for mortgage applicants, the increasing energy costs and the high fuel costs do not yet appear to have significantly impacted the property market.
March saw an increase in new property listings as typically would be the case in the run-up to Easter but this was matched by an increase in the number of properties sold within 30 days of listing - 61% to 64% between February 2022 and March 2022.
The average price of property rose by £27,000 in 2021 (the strongest level of price growth since 2002), and £42,000 since the start of the pandemic. Many regions are continuing to see double-digit price growth with only the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber and London recording less than 10% in 2021.
There is hope, the new supply of homes for sale is increasing albeit slowly, up 5% on the five-year average but this is still dwarfed by the 30% increase of sales agreed in Q1 prior to the pandemic.
As prices increase on average then affordability becomes a key factor in localised statistics, in London the average house price is near 11x the average income whereas in the North of England this figure is 5.1x average earnings.
Mortgage rates have started to rise since the Bank of England base rate was increased to 0.75% and forecasters predict at least another 0.25% increase during 2022. Lenders are now debating whether to ease the 'stress testing' on borrowers in light of the increasing financial pressures on household finances.
Many still predict that the increase in property prices will slow towards the end of 2022 and that makes for a 'window' of strong buyer demand in the short term.
Lindsay French, Associate and Valuer at George F. White, commented "Both the market data and the feedback from our own team and fellow agents all confirm that the market remains incredibly busy, opportunistic buyers will often be disappointed as they are beaten to the punch by those better prepared to enter the property market"
"Currently the property market is not for the faint-hearted, it's fast and furious, but in the majority of conversations with both sellers and buyers the need to move still appears to outweigh the financial pressures".
If you would like to discuss your property requirements or arrange a valuation of your property call 0333 920 2220.