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Autumn Market Preview With Phil Spencer

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Autumn is knocking on the door – the odd leaf is falling, nights are lengthening, the new series of Strictly is looming large. 

And, on September 30, the stamp duty holiday finally ends after 15 months; but if you imagine that will quieten the housing market, think again. There’s every evidence that the momentum of the first half of 2021 is going to run up to Christmas and beyond.

Look at Zoopla’s latest figures. Estate agents now have 26% fewer homes to sell than normal in autumn, while buyer numbers are as strong as ever. As a result, homes sell more quickly – on average just 26 days, roughly half the usual time. 

All that activity doesn’t simply stop overnight, so what are the trends for the rest of 2021?


Fewer sales, but prices won’t fall

1 in 20 UK households have moved in the past 12 months, many fuelled by the desire to make stamp duty savings, so it’s almost inevitable that fewer people will sell in coming months. Even so, the market will still be busier than in most recent years. And while the rate of price growth may diminish, that just means prices grow more slowly, not that they will fall.

Size really is important

Rightmove says the typical asking price of houses has risen no less than 10% in the past year, while the price of a flat has risen just one per cent – so if there is such a thing as a bargain in this autumn’s market, it will be in the shape of an apartment.

At the other end of the spectrum, agents and price indices show the very largest rises for houses with four or more bedrooms and gardens. They sell quickest and often at above the asking price – if you’re selling a large house, you’re in pole position.

It’ll be tough for first time buyers

It’s never actually impossible for young buyers to get on the ladder, and a new government scheme to help them – First Homes – has just launched. Yet it’s undeniable that with prices having risen recently, many purchasers will have to save even more for a first deposit.

Unluckily for them, buy to let has become more popular so landlords, too, are in the hunt for smaller properties. There are a fifth more investment buyers this year than in 2019 says Hamptons estate agency, and they’re likely competing for the same homes as first timers.

If you’re selling, get a wiggle on

I hate to mention Christmas but if you’re considering moving, don’t leave it too late. 

Conveyancers, surveyors and even removal firms are still at peak capacity and the estate agent group Propertymark says the average time between accepting an offer and exchanging contracts is now 13 weeks at least – far longer than two years ago, and probably far longer than when you last moved home. 

So if you want to carve your turkey in your new home, don’t hang around – it’s not so far away after all!

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Last Updated: September 2nd, 2021