According to Rightmove, Britain’s leading property portal, house prices and the demand for homes are at the highest level they have ever been with the national average asking price of newly marketed properties rising this month (September) to an all-time high of £338,462.
The latest available figures from ONS show that UK average house prices increased by 8.0% over the year to July 2021, this was down from 13.1% in June 2021.
The average UK house price in July according to ONS was £256,000, which was then £19,000 higher than the same time last year, following the then record high of £265,000 in June 2021.
Average house prices increased over the year in England to £271,000 (7%), in Wales to £188,000 (11.6%), in Scotland to £177,000 (14.6%) and in Northern Ireland to £153,000 (9.0%).
London continued to be the region with the lowest annual growth (2.2%) for the eighth consecutive month.
July figures an underestimate
However, these figures were thought to be an underestimate at the time and all the evidence points to a continuing rise in prices as demand outstrips supply. As the ONS says, “…because of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on both the number and supply of housing transactions, we might see larger revisions to the [July] published House Price Index (HPI) estimates than usual. Fewer transactions were available than expected for the July 2021 estimate. “
July’s house price fall coincided with the start of a tapering to the UK government’s Stamp Duty holiday incentive. Read more about the Stamp Duty Land Tax changes
Competition for homes
Industry experts now say that the competition when moving home has more than doubled since before the pandemic with Wales, the East Midlands and the southwest, southeast and east of England experiencing annual asking price increases of more than 8 per cent.
What the experts think
Tim Bannister, the director of property data at Rightmove, has said:
“The high ratio of buyer demand to properties for sale means that the property market remains stock-starved despite the summer lull lessening overall activity. Competition among potential buyers is now more than double what it was this time in 2019.”
Rightmove says the average asking price for a home has increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September.
Now buyers are being refused viewings unless their house is under offer and eager buyers who are in a position to move are elbowing-out those who still have their house on the market.
Tim Bannister adds:
“To be in pole-position you need to have greater buying power than the rest of the field. That traditionally would mean deeper pockets to outbid other buyers, but today’s ‘power buyers’ also need to have found a buyer for their own property, or to have no need to sell at all.”
There are signs of some stability returning to the sector as the stamp duty incentive recedes and growing affordability and sluggish growth in the economy generally.
Overall the board is set for a stable autumn, and there are hopes that more properties will appear on the market The first two weeks of September saw the number of listings rise by 14 per cent when compared with the closing couple of weeks in August.
Peter Woodthorpe, Director at Readings Property Group in Leicester, had said:
“The main issue is lack of stock. We are also seeing some examples of properties being overpriced, distorting the market by reducing the number of saleable properties further.”
Managing director of Birmingham estate agents Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester has said:
“It’s to be expected that the astronomic rates of house price growth seen since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday will now start to subside as we approach the final deadline,”
“But don’t be fooled into thinking the market will now deflate like a cheap birthday balloon. Buyer demand is extremely high and property prices will remain robust, largely driven by second and third rung buyers upgrading to larger, higher-value homes.”
The rental homes market
It is estimated that the number of homes available for rent in Britain could continue to fall as more landlords leave the market thanks to higher taxes and stricter rules.
According to the Nottingham Building Society nearly one-million landlords, which represents over a third of the total, will be reviewing their property portfolios in the coming year, and the number planning to sell rental homes outnumbers those planning to buy new ones.
Up to 20 per cent could sell some or all of their portfolio, the building society says, while 16 per cent plan to buy more.
This change could move the needle on UK property supply, and therefore house prices, as more homes become available to buy. But, while those homes going to first-time buyers or families would help more people climb onto or up the property ladder, it could also lead to a shortage of property to rent. In some popular parts of the country a lack of rental homes to rent has recently led to renting bidding wars.