Winter may not be behind us yet, but, as far as the property market is concerned, spring is definitely in the air! The latest figures from Rightmove suggest a cautiously positive market. Of the relatively modest 1.5% annual increase in the price of new-to-market properties on the portal, 0.8% of this occurred last month!
This is very much in line with our own observations of very buoyant start to the year, with enquiries from both buyers and sellers on the up. To put this in context, many properties coming to market at this time of year would be expected to be priced at 1.6% higher than the previous month, so 0.8% demonstrates that these sellers are serious about selling.
It is the enquiries from sellers that are most encouraging. Only when more people come to market can buyer demand be satisfied. Some people delay moving because they feel they may not find a suitable property to buy. (This is a shame as we always have “off-market” properties available for these buyer/sellers).
The SDLT (Stamp Duty) break given to first-time buyers has undoubtedly had the desired effect, with about a third of sales going to this group of buyers. This makes so much sense as, according to the Halifax, it costs over 11% more to rent each month, than it does to buy, excluding any capital appreciation! Indeed, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) the supply of rental properties fell by 8% last month, which will only serve to put more upward pressure on rents.
The momentum has therefore started early this year, possibly due to pent-up frustrations caused by last year’s economic and political uncertainties. Combined with the usual spring rush, 2018 could turn out to be a pivotal year that sees more people who want to move house being able to do precisely that. And OUR job is to help make it happen! So if you’re contemplating a move, your timing could be perfect.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer