House hunters braced for spring surge: Rightmove

Demand for homes has seen a 32% rise over the last three weeks compared to the same time last year, setting up this March to be one of the most competitive months in the property calendar for years.

Property Reporter
14th February 2022

A new study from Rightmove compared home-moving data over the last five years, excluding 2020 to account for the closed market periods, showed that March is the month when the highest number of buyers are enquiring about each property available on average. This means competition between buyers is at its strongest in March on average, providing an opportunity for many would-be sellers to have a good chance of selling their home.

Currently, approximately three-quarters of all properties are successfully finding a buyer, compared to a historical average of around half, and homes are finding buyers in an average of 39 days, compared to an average of 59 days over the last five years.

The number of new listings coming to market is also historically at its highest in March, though the high levels of buyer demand seen in the month mean March is still the strongest month to sell. April is the next strongest month to sell, based on competition between buyers for each available property, followed by May.

As this year’s spring surge gathers momentum, the level of home-moving activity continues to increase since the start of the year.

The number of new listings coming to the market for sale is up 11% in the last three weeks compared to the same time last year, while buyer demand is up 32% across the same period. The number of requests to estate agents to value a home from would-be sellers is up 27% since the start of the year, compared with the start of last year.

With warmer weather hopefully on its way, buyer searches for gardens jumped 70% in January compared to January two years ago, as more people look for outdoor space heading into spring.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, comments: “Spring has long been known as a peak point in the housing market calendar, with many buyers and sellers trying to get into a new home for the summer months. However, this interesting study confirms that for those considering selling this year, March has historically been the best time to come to market on average. For any sellers who might be conscious of coming to market at a time when the number of new listings has traditionally been high, the data shows us that the level of demand in March means sellers are likely to meet with multiple potential buyers competing for their home.

“Those thinking of selling are also likely to be aiming to buy a new property and may be tempted to begin the search for their new home before listing their current one on the market. Due to the speed and competitiveness of the market, agents are reporting that it continues to be of high importance for those actively looking to become ‘power buyers’, to give themselves the best chance of securing their dream home. This means making sure they have their current property on the market or preferably sold subject to contract before beginning the search for their next home.

“This spring is certainly shaping up to be a busy one, with buyer demand, new listings coming to market for sale, and valuation requests to estate agents from future sellers all continuing to increase compared to last year. Gardens are likely to be high on the list of priorities for home-movers, as outdoor space continues to be a strong consideration factor when deciding on a next home.”

Cory Askew, Head of Sales at Chestertons, says: “March marks the beginning of spring which, historically, is one of the busiest periods for property sales. The reason we are likely to see a particularly busy March this year is because the first two months have already outperformed last year’s start of the year and house hunters are driven to find a home since lockdown restrictions have been eased. An additional incentive for property buyers to act now is the recent spike in interest rates and the fear that the Bank of England announces yet another rate rise later this year.”

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