Did somebody say Christmas?

Mortgage Introducer

August 24, 2018

Joe Arnold, managing director, Arnold & Baldwin

There’s always someone who likes to gleefully remind us how many weeks there are until Christmas while we’re still wearing our flip flops. But for those hoping to be in their new homes in time to put a tree up, the festive period will seem worryingly close.

There are, in fact, only 16 weeks to go and with the average time from agreeing a sale to moving in hovering at around 13 weeks, according to the Rightmove House Price Index, home-movers should be active in the market right now.

For new-to-the-market sellers, finding a buyer adds an average of eight weeks so they will need to beat these odds if they want to meet the Christmas deadline.

New sellers should also note that buyers have more choice this month compared to last, with total available stock being up 2.1% and RICS has said that more properties have come to market than any time since August 2013.

Set against a backdrop of only the second interest rate rise in a decade, Rightmove has reported that the average house price in London remains at £477,421 – a drop of 6% from the £506,755 peak achieved in April 2016, but Knight Frank has indicated a more positive outlook, saying that the number of new prospective buyers in prime central London was 31% higher in June than the same month last year.

According to Knight Frank, the total value of £10m plus sales in June 2018 was £407m, the highest monthly total since December 2014, highlighting the strength of underlying demand for prime central London property despite a period marked by political uncertainty.

Halifax echoed this positive sentiment, reporting that house prices across the country picked up in July, with the annual rate of growth rising from 1.8% in June to 3.3% in July, which was the largest increase since last November.

Last month the Evening Standard reported ONS data, confirming that the average first-time buyer deposit in London is still an eye-watering £115,000.

This deposit alone would comfortably buy outright a smart three-bedroom terrace house in the seaside resort of Scarborough, North Yorkshire; a two-bedroom cottage in a Midlands village, or a smart one- or two-bedroom flat in Norfolk or parts of Essex.

Research by the Evening Standard found that a third of 18- to 34-year olds intend to save up for a deposit by remaining in their childhood bedrooms until they can afford to buy a place of their own, sidestepping increasing costs in private rental sector altogether.

And finally, The Independent reported that a London couple have taken matters into their own hands by organising a raffle to sell their home.

If all 600,000 tickets are sold, the couple will raise £8.1m, which £3m more than the asking price. The six bed Georgian grade II listed mansion on the edge of North London has been valued £5.25m but could be yours for just £13.50, if you’re willing to buy a ticket. You might even be in by Christmas.

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