Property buyers urged to ‘act now’ to move by the end of the year

Despite the grim backdrop of the spiraling cost of living, buyer demand for properties remains relatively strong, representing more than double (+113%) the five-year May average before the pandemic, according to Rightmove. However, while interest is high, buyers have been urged to act quickly – within the next two weeks – if they want to secure a property in time for Christmas.

A transfer of ownership bottleneck means it currently takes an average of 150 days to complete a purchase after agreeing a sale.

According to Rightmove, it takes about 50 days longer than the same period in 2019.

That means those hoping to close a deal by the end of the year will need to hit the market in the coming weeks to give themselves the best chance of finding a buyer and closing the deal on time.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, Tim Bannister, said: “Existing homeowners looking to buy again will always need to put themselves in the best possible position to secure their next home in this strong market by ensuring they find a buyer for their current property before searching. their next home.

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“This is all the more important for those hoping to complete the process as quickly as possible and enjoy Christmas in a new home this year.

“So it’s important to act now and contact a local estate agent to give yourself the best chance of being in your new home for Christmas.”

Rightmove said there are currently more than 500,000 homes sold under contract, an unusually high figure almost double what it was before the pandemic (44%).

What does the housing market look like today?

Although house prices have hit a five-month high, the data shows that demand is actually waning.

Average property prices on the market are currently at £368,614, but this is a slightly more modest increase than other months as it only reflects a 0.3% rise, this indicating slower growth.

According to experts at Rightmove, buyer demand has fallen to 8% since May, which is likely an influence of affordability constraints compounded by soaring living costs.

Rightmove Director of Real Estate Science, Tim Bannister, said: “The market’s exceptional pace is slowing down a bit as demand gradually softens and price increases start to slow, which is entirely to be expected given many record figures of the last two years. years.

“When you look at the number of buyers contacting estate agents compared to 2019 or the pre-pandemic five-year average, demand is still very high compared to what was once considered normal.

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“We are hearing from agents that while they may have had slightly fewer applicants for each property over the past few months, they are still seeing significant interest from multiple buyers and achieving successful sales.

“Going into the second half of the year, we expect the pace of price increases to slow further, especially given the worsening affordability challenges people are facing.

“We expect this to bring the annual rate of price growth from the current 9.7% towards the 5% increase predicted by Rightmove at the start of the year.”

What could this mean for house prices?

Anthony Codling, CEO of the real estate platform Twindig told Express.co.uk: “The reduction in new buyer demand, if sustained, will remove some of the heat from the housing market.

“However, the demand for homes currently exceeds the number of homes for sale, so house prices are unlikely to fall, but the rate of house price inflation is expected to slow.

“If buyer demand continues to decline and we reach a situation where there are more sellers than buyers, then house prices will go down, but we’re not there yet.”

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