Wirral Property Market Insight November 2021

Is the local property market prepared for winter?

Market Insight: November 2021



Since the stamp duty holiday ended on 30th September, we have been monitoring the property market very closely across Wirral and Cheshire West to determine the impact of this change on property prices and activity levels.


The relationship between new instructions and sales agreed in the market is critical to understanding whether a change in property prices is likely in the near future. This is an aspect we have been following closely since the pandemic began last year amid concerns that a significant increase in demand would have a strong (and unsustainable) effect on prices.


Monthly volume of new instructions and sales agreed in Wirral and Cheshire West (Rightmove, 2020-21)


It was clear that demand significantly outweighed supply earlier this year, until the extension of the stamp duty holiday gave people a reason to put their properties on the market and stock levels began to increase. Had this not happened, prices would have been driven even higher given the limited availability of property at the time.


The good news is there has been no sign of a stock imbalance nearly two months after the stamp duty holiday ended. Looking at market activity for October, the volume of new instructions and sales agreed were virtually identical. This means that demand is comfortably being met by a steady flow of new properties coming to market.


In reality, the nature of the property market means there will always be demand even in the most difficult economic situations. However, the current activity levels indicate a very strong economic climate leading towards a longer period of sustainability. It is encouraging that there have been no sudden or extreme changes in the stock levels as we head into what is likely to be the quietest period of the year so far.


Average weeks to agree a sale on Rightmove for Wirral & West Cheshire postcodes this summer (October 2021)


In terms of how quickly property is selling locally, 29.1% of all sales agreed on Rightmove in October took fewer than two weeks to find a buyer. This is another great sign that the property market is healthy as buyers are confident enough to move quickly for property even without the time pressure of a stamp duty deadline.


To put this into context, 32.8% of sales took fewer than two weeks to find a buyer in March; the month with the highest volume of sales in 2021 and more incentive to buy quicker to avoid paying more stamp duty tax. The difference is only marginal as we head back towards what should be considered a ‘normal’ market.


If we look back to October 2019, the most recent comparable month before the pandemic, only 23.5% of sales were agreed within two weeks of marketing. Given that property sales are happening much quicker than usual, this could be a sign that the local market is still in a very healthy place as we close in on 2022.

Percentage of new buyers registered each month (Karl Tatler Data, 2017-21)


For future sales to take place and the market to continue thriving, there needs to be new buyers registering. As discussed in the most recent market insight article, October usually presents the last real opportunity to drive sales and get a transaction progressed before Christmas.


In October there was a slight drop in the volume of new buyers registered by Karl Tatler compared to September, but this actually represents a huge 31% increase on October last year. We’ve experienced unprecedented volumes of registrations in 2021, so it is natural that the numbers would begin to drop eventually.


The latest influx of new buyers is a sign that demand should continue to be strong for the next few weeks as competition for current stock intensifies. Typically, the number of new properties coming to market will begin to drop rapidly towards Christmas, so there will be plenty of buyers ready for the market to revive early in 2022.


Will the market stall in December?


If we look at pre-pandemic property market trends, November and December will often be the quietest months for activity. Particularly when Christmas decorations begin to appear, the appetite to buy and sell diminishes until the festivities have concluded.


Boxing Day is often cited as the busiest day for property portals; Rightmove experienced record levels of traffic on Boxing Day in 2020 as people begin to formulate their property plans ahead of the New Year.


As a property seller, it can be very beneficial to launch your property on Boxing Day rather than waiting until the New Year. Firstly, new properties get more exposure on portals and will be greeted with a huge audience of potential buyers who will be eager to start booking viewings.


Sellers will often wait until their decorations are down to do photos and launch in January, but this influx can dilute your exposure and provide more options for the active buyers out there.


One strategy that many sellers find useful is to have their property prepared for marketing in November but not launch it on portals until Boxing Day. This means that photographs and the marketing strategy can be completed before the property is presented to the largest active audience at a time when the fewest properties are on the market.


Given the number of buyers still registering this late on in the year, the Wirral and West Cheshire property market could well experience one of the most active December’s on record.


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