Demand for homes reaches new highs amidst market rebound, data reveals

Buyer activity is reaching unprecedented levels as the spring season unfolds, with a notable surge in demand for residential properties, according to Rightmove’s House Price Index.

The market is witnessing a significant uptick in the number of new sellers, up by 12% compared to last year, indicating growing interest in property transactions, according to the data. Sales agreements are also on the rise, increasing by 13% as the market rebounds from a subdued spring in the previous year.

Particularly, the top-end housing sector is experiencing an increase in both new listings and sales activity, with a notable 18% rise in new sellers and a 20% surge in sales agreements compared to last year. Conversely, the mass-market segments, largely dependent on mortgages, are seeing slower growth in both new listings and sales agreements, reflecting the challenges posed by high mortgage rates.

Despite these challenges, overall sales agreements have matched 2019 levels, showcasing resilience in the face of tougher buyer conditions, including significantly higher mortgage rates and property prices.
This year’s spring activity peaked on Thursday, March 28th, with the highest number of new sellers entering the market, underscoring the eagerness of sellers to attract buyers amidst the bustling Easter weekend. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, said:

“The summer holidays are typically a time of distraction for some home-hunters, as they temporarily pause their search and head abroad or to the British seaside. In addition, the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Olympics this summer, likely followed by a General Election during the second half of the year, will add more buyer distractions than usual. There appears to be a tempting window of opportunity for those who are considering a move to act now before these distractions arrive. While affordability is still very tight, property and mortgage market conditions remain stable, buyer choice is good, and many sellers will recognise that it is the right time to negotiate on price to agree a deal. The boost in activity suggests that many home movers are already springing into action to make their move.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark said that with many buyers and sellers keen to start buying their next dream home during a brighter period of the year, they can do so knowing that their “homes are increasing in value yet again”. He continued:

“…and this is despite the fact that interest rates remain the same in order to stabilise the economy following surging inflation. People are demonstrating a pragmatic attitude towards current market conditions and our own Housing Insight Reports are a key indication of how positive the market is starting to look, with an 18 per cent increase in new properties coming to the market. Approvals for remortgaging also increased, from 30,900 to 37,700 since February, according to the Bank of England’s Money and Credit report. Therefore, if you want to buy your next house, now is the best time to do so.”

What’s more, Rightmove’s weekly mortgage tracker also revealed that the average 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.84%, up from 4.45% a year ago. The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.23%, up from 4.77% a year ago. Also, the average 85% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.77%, up from 4.46% a year ago.

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