While many expected a quieter autumn in the housing market, official data reveals just a subtle change in autumn hues as winter approaches. This is according to Director of LPS Real Estate Joe Gervin, who says: “According to HMRC data, September was the third busiest month on record for housing sales, following June 2021 and March 2016. As the final winds of the stamp duty holiday ended, Zoopla reported that sales are set to exceed 1.5 million by the end of the year. While the Bank of England have said that mortgage approvals in September were at their lowest since July 2020, demand for property remains stronger than a year ago and the demand /supply imbalance that has epitomized the market in 2021 remains.”
He continues that property prices continue to rise, with Rightmove reporting a ‘full house’ for the first time since 2007, as asking prices for properties across all regions and sectors of the market hit record highs in October. “A moderation is likely throughout the final quarter, with price growth of 5.8% expected for 2021 based on the average of independent forecasts. An interest rate rise is likely over the coming weeks, and while this may act as a soft brake on the market, there is little evidence it will trigger any significant price falls. Price growth of 3.2% is predicted over the course of 2022 by the Office for Budget Responsibility,” Joe added.
He notes that with property price growth having been firmly in positive territory, the average price of a property in the UK in the past year has risen by £25,000 to £264,244. “The re-evaluation of where we want to live and our space needs, together with more formalised hybrid working practices, continues to fuel buyer demand, despite the removal of government incentives for the majority of homebuyers,” comments Joe.
“The market is moving and moving quickly. At 37 days from marketing to sold, subject to contract, homes continue to sell more quickly than a year ago. This is 24 days faster than the pre-pandemic average for this time of year. The market is busier than in any year since 2007. In the first nine months of 2021, HMRC estimate that more than 1.2 million homes changed hands, 47% higher than the long-term UK average set between 2010 and 2019, and just 50,000 fewer than the same period in 2007. According to TwentyCi data, on average, there is now only 2.2 months’ worth of stock available in the UK, compared to four months’ stock in 2019.”
Looking more locally, Joe, whose independent agency is a member of The Guild of Property Professionals, says: “The average price of a property has increased significantly in the North West region during the past year. In Liverpool, we have seen prices rise by 14.7% which is higher than the average UK growth of 11.6%. Knowsley however seen prices rise by an incredible 20.2% which is the second highest growth in the whole North West region. It is anticipated that price growth will moderate over the coming months to more sustainable levels, with predicted growth of 4% expected in the North West region during 2022.”
In conclusion, Joe says that after 2020, no one imagined this year would see annual property price growth and sales volumes at their strongest since before the global financial crisis. “We anticipate the market will remain busy as 2021 draws to a close, with more sustainable market conditions emerging in the first quarter of 2022.”