Market Insight: October 2021
Since June 2020, property market reporting has centred around post-lockdown recovery and the impact of the stamp duty holiday; a government incentive designed to encourage as many people to buy and sell property now rather than wait until conditions seem more favourable. This all happened at a time when many industries in the UK were shut or recovering, so intervention was necessary to prop up the housing market.
The stamp duty holiday ended on 30th September, which means rates have now returned to their pre-pandemic level. More information about the new residential rates can be found on the government website.
The impact of the stamp duty scheme, both nationally and locally, has been staggering. Record levels of viewings and sales have taken place in recent months, leaving the property market in a very healthy position as we approach winter. The question is, will property continue to sell quickly, and at a good price, if you come to market in October?
Monthly volume of new instructions and sales agreed in Wirral and Cheshire West (Rightmove, 2020-21)
A critical element to success in the property market at any time of year is understanding the relationship between supply and demand. Looking at the chart above, you can see the volume of new instructions and sales agreed in the Wirral and West Cheshire property market have been almost identical since February.
This is the perfect balance for a healthy property market as it means demand (sales agreed) is constantly being fed by supply (new instructions) so no shortages or surplus occurs. During the first few months of 2021 stock was selling faster than it was being replenished which caused an increase in demand, and ultimately prices.
The positive news is that September saw more properties come to market than sales agreed, which means there is more choice out there for buyers as stock levels begin to rise. This eases the demand for property locally and reduces the likelihood of dramatic price changes in the coming months.
Percentage of annual viewings taken place each month (Karl Tatler Data, 2017-21)
Looking at viewing activity for Karl Tatler Estate Agents over the past five years, October is still a popular month for viewing property. There is still enough natural light in the evenings to facilitate quality viewings, while there can still be enough time to get most of the conveyancing process finalised before Christmas.
Particularly during recent pre-pandemic years (2017-19), the level of viewings taken place in October have been similar to that of April, May and June; typically considered popular viewing months. Therefore, if you were hesitant about coming to market in October because there are fewer active buyers, there should be plenty of motivated people still viewing property for the next 4-6 weeks.
Volume of monthy new instructions across Wirral & Cheshire West (Rightmove, 2018-21)
Past Rightmove data for new instructions across Wirral and West Cheshire also indicate October is a popular month to bring property to market. In both 2018 & 2019, there were more listings in October than September as people look to make the move before the Christmas period begins.
October has also been a strong month for agreeing sales on Rightmove, both before and during the pandemic. The table below shows how there were more sales agreed in October than April and June in 2018 & 2019. The number of sales agreed in November are also encouraging, which means there is still plenty of time to sell before Christmas.
Volume of monthy sales agreed across Wirral & Cheshire West (Rightmove, 2018-21)
Outlook positive for local property market
The property market is now in a phase of transition following the end of the extended stamp duty holiday, which makes it difficult to predict how the next few weeks and months will play out. There has never been a set of circumstances like this before, but we can look forward with optimism as the local property market is in a very healthy state currently.
At Karl Tatler, the levels of viewings and new buyer registrations have both held strong in recent weeks despite the absence of stamp duty holiday, which suggests that there is still an appetite to buy property across Wirral and Cheshire West. The early signs are suggesting that activity will return to a more typical pre-pandemic level, rather than any dramatic shift in demand.
For anyone considering buying or selling before 2022, October presents an ideal opportunity to capitalise on the demand while there is still a smaller pool of properties available. Past data suggests stock levels will begin to rise steadily over the next couple of months, which will increase competition for property sellers.
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