Director of property data Tim Bannister said although Rightmove expected its house price index would continue to show increases across the market, there was a slight dip instead as sellers priced their homes “more realistically” to benefit from the tax saving on their onward purchase.
“We know from a recent Rightmove study that sellers are twice as likely to sell if they agree a sale based on the first price at which their property goes on the market, something that’s even more important now as we move towards the end of March and the end of the stamp duty holiday.”
“If your initial asking price is too high, then you’re less likely to get an offer even after you’ve cut your price back to a more realistic level,” Bannister added.
On a yearly basis, asking prices increased 6.3 per cent with Rightmove saying its revised prediction of a seven per cent rise in house prices over the year looked to be on track.
Activity in the market remained strong, as national sales agreed rose 50 per cent in October and Rightmove predicted there were 650,000 transactions currently in progress – a 67 per cent increase on the same time last year.
Regionally, buyer demand in the East of England is the strongest, with a 72 per cent rise on agreed sales.
This was followed by the South East, where agreed sales have seen a 69 per cent uptick and the South West where agreed sales have hiked up by 60 per cent.
Buyers in London are benefitting from the stamp duty holiday the most with an average of £15,000 saved per transaction.
Those in the South East have avoided a bill of £10,800 on average, while purchasers in the East of England enjoyed an average saving of £8,311.
Larger property demand
The desire for larger, more expensive homes did not wane in its latest data which showed the number of sales agreed on higher priced properties surged compared to cheaper homes.
For properties priced between £400,000 and £500,000, there was a 106 per cent rise in sales agreed while properties priced between £100,000 and £200,000 just saw a 16 per cent change on last year.
Larger homes are also securing buyers quicker than they were last year, dropping to a record low of 49 days, 23 days faster than the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the time it takes to find a buyer for a lower priced property fell by just eight days.
On average, properties coming to market have a 49 day wait before a buyer is found.
Processing ‘pile up’
Bannister said: “After some brief hesitation as people waited for the detailed government guidance and legislation, it’s now clear that home-movers are carrying on with their searches and sales during this second lockdown in England with the market staying open.
“This ongoing activity means that the processing logjam continues to pile up because of the sheer number trying to reach the finish line by the end of March.
“With 650,000 transactions in the pipeline, millions of people are on tenterhooks until their sale or purchase has completed.”