There’s a popular belief that if you haven’t put your home on sale by Easter, you’ve missed the ‘best’ part of the market: but as with many things today, the rules have changed.
Stamp duty buzz
So, is it a good time to sell? While there certainly was a frenzy of activity before the chocolate eggs were cracked (with estate agency Knight Frank calling March 2021 the busiest month for sales in a decade) the rest of spring will still be ideal for those wanting to find buyers for their homes.
This is chiefly because the stamp duty holiday – the biggest incentive for buyers in recent years – has been extended until June 30. So, for most purchasers there’s a saving up to £15,000 if they can complete the deal by that deadline; and as the holiday will wind down only gradually, there will still be smaller savings available until late September.
Therefore, buyers are out in force to get a deal and a saving.
Spike in buyer demand
Rightmove, the biggest of the websites on which most buyers start their property searches, reported just over nine million visits to its listings on March 23 this year – a record.
And the advantage is definitely with sellers at the moment; Rightmove, again, says that in early April there were 17% fewer homes listed for sale than a year earlier, so all those buyers are hunting a smaller pool of properties than they would have expected.
Rising house prices
As always where demand exceeds supply, prices go up. The two most respected house price indices are from Nationwide and Halifax, showing annual rises of 6.9% and 6.5% respectively; I’d never advise anyone to base a major decision on just one figure from an index, but the ‘direction of travel’ is quite clear – the market is very buoyant.
There’s no time to lose
However, those taking the plunge to sell should not see this as a signal to relax.
The house buying process is slow at the best of times, especially as most deals are part of a chain involving multiple purchasers and sellers; and right now there are major delays across the board because of the volume of business generated by the stamp duty boost.
Conveyancers have backlogs of legal checks on insurances and historic building permissions. Some surveyors find inspections slow to arrange because owners are more careful about visitors during the pandemic. Finally, council planners are behind with searches into each property’s local area, as some staff are working from home.
The consequence of all this is that the average time for a home to sell – from the moment a For Sale board goes up to the day that the buyer moves in – is now about four months according to property website Zoopla. That’s over two weeks longer than usual.
Take action now
So if you are selling, take action now. There’s plenty of advice here on Move iQ on how to select an estate agent, prepare your home and minimise the risk of a sale collapsing. And if you’re selling, you’re almost certainly also buying, so good luck with your new home.
Need a solicitor?
If you’re looking to sell and want to avoid delays as best as possible, finding a good solicitor is absolutely key. We can connect you with a member of our approved panel. Get a conveyancing quote below.