Well it’s been an exceptionally busy year for us and we would like to thank you all for your support.
With the number of transactions, people moving to the area and record prices being achieved have meant it’s been an unprecedented year in real estate. With over four times as many applicants registered year on year and business up by 400%, this also coincides with us entering our 5th year of trading! The icing on the cake for me this year was being recognised within the industry at The UK Property Awards, hosted at the Royal Lancaster in London and being presented with four 5-star awards including Best Letting Agent in the UK. It was our fourth year of success and this year I was honoured to be accompanied on stage by my amazing team, a public recognition for the exceptional work they do.
So, the question on everyone’s lips – what’s the future for the property market over the next 12 months?
Well, where do we start? What a year!
Sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball, however, what I can tell you is that despite the press speculating that national house prices may correct over the course of the next year (alongside interest rates rising), as of today I am seeing no signs of that at all.
Over the last 12 months, we have seen extraordinary numbers of buyers register with us, initially, second home buyers followed quickly by families looking to relocate. Whilst this has been fantastic news for local sellers who have seen significant property price increases, for those looking to move locally within the market it’s a different story. Many local sellers have been pleasantly surprised with price increases and have thought it a good time to move, however, when they start to look around, they have swiftly been met with fierce competition from out-of-town buyers. They will call agents to book a viewing only to be told there are 8 cash buyers lined up who are in rented and ready to move. Understandably, once they experience this a few times they quickly become disillusioned, losing motivation, and giving up on their search. So, the local issue is twofold; competition and a lack of stock coming to the market.
However, I believe in the New Year things will start to change. Some of these potential sellers, who have encountered the above have concluded that they don’t want to sit back and wait and instead have chosen to put their best foot forward and either secure a sale ahead of finding their next home, selecting a buyer who can offer them the flexibility to find, or if needs be, move into rented accommodation.
Once some of these local sellers take the plunge, others will see more homes coming to the market and confidence will build. Naturally, as demand is met, competition will decrease. Whilst I anticipate prices remaining firm as we live in a robust area, it will leave more room for local buyers to transact. As local sellers see more property available to buy, they will feel encouraged to come to the market themselves. As a result, the log jam will start to move, resulting in a more fluid market next year.
This is evident in the number of valuations we are currently carrying out, which correlates with the latest Rightmove stats. In October 2021, Rightmove reported a 14% increase in the number of requests by homeowners for valuations, compared with the same period last year, no doubt a sign of building momentum.
So, given the above, the ultimate question is, should we wait until the New Year or get ahead of the crowd?
Whilst it’s true that traditionally December is the quietest month for buyer activity and for new property coming to market, as people get distracted with Christmas preparations, I am always pleasantly surprised to see how busy we are. If you are a serious buyer, Christmas doesn’t stop the search, often as workloads ease in the lead up, it may allow precious spare time to view. Those buyers willing to view in the wind and rain I know are serious. Therefore, it is why we urge our clients to remain on the market during this time as they can often secure a sale.
Moreover, the period between Boxing Day and the New Year is the busiest time on Rightmove, with over 51 million visits over this period last year, perhaps due to having time available during the holiday season and a resolve to enjoy the next Christmas in new surroundings.
So, if you are considering coming to the market in the New year, it would be wise to use this window of opportunity to begin the process of getting your home ready to sell now. We recommend launching on the 26th of December to take advantage of this valuable period of time and the ‘lull’ after Christmas, attracting motivated buyers and beating the crowd.