Housing market: busiest month for a decade

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July is usually a quiet month for the housing market, but that hasn’t been the case this year.

for sale sign and sold sign

In an unusual break from tradition, the housing market saw its busiest July for more than 10 years, data from Rightmove has shown.

This amounts to £37 billion worth of property sales agreed throughout the month, which is 38% higher than the same month in 2019, with the latest weekly sales agreed figure also up by 60% year on year. 

The summer months are usually quieter for the housing market as people go on holiday. Instead, Rightmove saw the highest number of properties coming to market in one month since March 2008. 

But the number of houses available is down 8% compared to this time last year, meaning although people are looking to move, they have fewer houses to choose from. 

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: “There have been many changes as a result of the unprecedented pandemic, and these include a rewriting of the previously predictable seasonal rulebook for housing market activity and prices.

“Home movers are both marketing and buying more property than we have recorded in any previous month for over ten years, helping push prices to their highest ever level in seven regions.

“Rather than just a release of existing pent up demand due to the suspension of the housing market during lockdown, there’s an added layer of additional demand due to people’s changed housing priorities after the experience of lockdown.

“This is also keeping up the momentum of the unexpected mini-boom, which is now going longer and faster. We associate this time of year with diving into the pool rather than the property market, and of sand and sun rather than bricks and mortar.”

Rightmove’s advice for anyone looking to make the most of the stamp duty holiday is to look ahead and plan as much as possible to make the deadline of March 2021.

“Not only are we seeing an unusually busy summer period, but also parts of the lending and legal sectors are having to cope with capacity constraints, as some staff will still be on furlough while many will still be working from home,” Miles added. 

“Patience will be required, especially with some lenders limiting their product ranges due to capacity constraints in their ability to process mortgages. To minimise the risk of missing the 31 March stamp duty deadline it’s best to plan well ahead.

“This busy pace of the market looks set to continue in the short term, and although the market has proven resilient since reopening we still need to be mindful of the wider economic concerns as the year progresses.”

This news comes after findings last week showed plenty of homebuyers were taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday, although first time buyers were unlikely to benefit. 

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