The latest snapshot of buyer and seller activity on Rightmove suggests this year is seeing a positive spring home selling season, with the highest number of property sales occurring in one day within the past decade on Tuesday 23 March.
Visits to Rightmove’s platforms surpassed the level recorded on Budget day on Wednesday 3 March, hitting a new record last Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, when visits were over 9.1 million.
Evidence of the strength of the sellers’ market is clear from an agent in Saffron Walden who had 18 viewings in 24 hours on a £1.2m property which is set to go to best and final offers, and he says that the number of London buyers looking to move there has more than doubled since this time last year.
New listings had a slower start than usual in the first few months of the year, leading to a market with the greatest excess of demand over supply over the past ten years.
The weekly number of listings coming to market is now improving, and this week saw the highest for the year so far, and the highest since October last year.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “The promise of better weather on the way as we move in to Spring, hopefully an easing of restrictions, and kids now back in school have all helped boost listing numbers.
“As we head into half-term agents are reporting a frenzy of activity in some areas, with multiple offers from buyers at asking price and above. It’s very much a sellers’ market with Tuesday this week seeing a daily rate of sales agreed not seen in the past ten years.
“The lack of stock is still an issue but there are definitely some green shoots starting to emerge with listing numbers improving.
“There are definite signs that those sellers who were waiting earlier in the year are now making the most of the spring selling season and, with gardens starting to blossom, it’s a particularly good time to showcase these types of features to the growing number of buyers looking for more outdoor space.”
Bruce King, director of Cheffins in Saffron Walden: “The past few months has been of the busiest markets we have seen in years as the combination of lockdown, the stamp duty holiday and the 5% mortgage scheme has created the perfect conditions for buyers to look to move house.
“We have seen bidding wars on multiple properties and in fact, a house which we launched this week at £1.2m, saw 18 viewings booked in 24 hours and looks set to go to best and final offers.
“There has been a massive lack of stock at the upper end and there is a raft of buyers out there, all of whom are getting frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the market.
“The number of London-based buyers looking to move to Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages has more than doubled since the pandemic struck.
“One of the other drivers in the market is also the accidental savers out there, those people who have managed to increase their deposits by saving during the pandemic.
“The arrival of spring, the vaccination roll out, the prospects of pubs opening and life going back to normal has had a huge psychological effect on people.
“The combination of these factors is what is encouraging people to take the plunge and sell up and the majority who I speak to are taking a pragmatic view on saving on stamp duty with this being a positive of course, but not an essential.”