The average time between a property coming to market and being sold is the shortest ever recorded, as estate agents report more houses being sold than available.
The housing market continued its surge upwards, with the average time for a sale being just 50 days over September, and the average price of property reaching its highest ever figure at £323,530, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.
The stunning figures have flown in the face of predictions of a potential slump in prices after the end of lockdown, with more buyers than ever entering the market and buying property before the end of the stamp duty holiday at the end of March 2021.
In a truly strange year for housing, and to explain the sheer desire for relocation, we need to explain some of the factors that caused it.
The Fall Of The Commute
For many homeowners, relocation of their primary workspace is one of the biggest factors in switching home.
With many office staff working primarily from home with either no or very limited commuting, workers have for the first time had the flexibility to choose a home that suits them, rather than their work arrangements.
As a result, there is a lot of interest in purchasing bigger, less expensive properties because the commute that required a more expensive property near a business hub has evaporated. What may only buy a flat in a London suburb can by a substantially bigger house elsewhere.
The Self Fulfilling Cycle
The housing market’s momentum has in itself led to more motivated buyers.
The more prospective buyers have seen properties selling at a rapid pace and prices rising, the more motivated they have become to buy quickly to avoid missing out before the stamp duty window closes and prices rise.
The number of buyers getting in touch with estate agents has increased by two-thirds (66 per cent) compared to last year and is only 1 per cent less than the peak in July.
Demand has outstripped supply in nearly every property type, from first-time buyers to property investors, and that in turn has caused people who were on the fence about buying a house to act now to avoid disappointment.
Sometimes, it takes a single spark to start a fire, and with a housing market that had been affected by the national lockdown in March, the stamp duty holiday was enough to convert the clear demand for relocation into sales.
This has led to the record months through the summer and up to now, and will likely carry through until it becomes unfeasible to close a deal before the 31st March deadline.
After this, prices are expected to flatten out, but that could change depending on if there are further interventions, particularly for first-time buyers, as has been promised by the government.