With the greatest supply and demand balance over the past ten years, the UK property market remains furiously competitive. And as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, the frenzied pace of the market will likely increase.
The latest market insight from Rightmove reveals the hottest seller and buyer markets across Britain, based on just under 300,000 properties that have come up for sale since the start of 2021.
According to the data, Newquay in Cornwall has been named the hottest seller’s market, where eight out of every ten homes put up for sale this year are sold subject to contract, followed by Newton-Le-Willows in Merseyside, where just under 82% of properties are SSTC with Plymstock in Devon making up the top three with 81% currently SSTC.
All areas of the top ten hottest seller markets have seen asking prices hit records since the market reopened in May 2020, with seven of the 10 hitting a price record this year.
In stark contrast, there are a number of city centres where around one in five properties are marked SSTC. In Birmingham city centre 18% of properties are marked SSTC, and in Liverpool city centre 22% are marked SSTC.
Other areas outside of city centres in the top ten buyer markets include the more expensive locations of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire where average asking prices are over £1m and Sunbury-on-Thames with average asking prices over £500,000.
Across Great Britain, almost two out of every three properties are currently SSTC, and available stock is down 26% on this time last year, though this does compare to when the housing market was closed in April 2020.
New properties coming up for sale greatly improved in March and were 51% higher than in February, but demand is still outstripping supply in a number of areas.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, comments: “Areas around the North and South West are the stand-out seller’s markets right now, and places in Cornwall and Devon are continuing the trend of a desire to move to the seaside and countryside. Suburbs are also faring well as some people move further out from the centre of cities. Both sale and rental properties in city centres have been suffering over the past year as the usual appeal to live there has temporarily been taken away, leading to more stock than usual being available, but we may see these start to shift more quickly over the next few months as lockdown restrictions continue to be removed.
“In a traditional year there would be a couple of record days for visits or enquiries being sent by home-hunters, but the pace of the current market caused by a combination of restrictions easing, a desire for more space and people considering different locations, has led to records tumbling week after week. Last Wednesday set a record of over 9.3 million visits to Rightmove, and March saw time spent on site surpass two billion minutes in a month for the first time.”
Bradley Start, Partner at Start & Co Estate Agents in Newquay, adds: “The stock shortage is the worst I’ve seen in thirty years and there’s just seemingly endless demand. We’re getting requests for viewings within minutes of a property going on Rightmove and many properties are going to best and final offers due to the competition, something that usually we would only see a few times a year.
"It’s a mix of locals moving, people buying holiday homes and those relocating completely, which is leading to more out-of-town buyers than we would normally see. Those who are choosing to relocate are, understandably, looking for a home right by the sea, which is pushing up demand even more for those homes with the all-coveted sea view. The lack of stock I think is mostly down to the fact that sellers are unsure that they will be able to find a replacement property to buy, but if more sellers decided to come to market this would help across the whole chain.”