The strong buyer demand for UK properties that has characterised the whole of 2021 is still holding on as estate agents note a widening asking price to sale price gap.
A new study by NAEA Propertymark looking at estate agents’ experiences in November has shown that appetite in the housing market is showing no signs of dying down. The number of UK properties on estate agent books has fallen to its lowest ever level of 20 homes per branch, which is a 50% drop on November 2020.
Meanwhile, buyer numbers went up between October and November by an average of 12%, says the report. A huge 571 prospective buyers were registered at each branch on average, meaning there are around 29 house hunters for every available property on the market at present.
UK properties seeing prices pushed up
The competitive nature of the housing sector has been supporting house price growth throughout the year. NAEA’s report shows that 38% of homes sold for more than their original asking price, compared to just 21% in October.
In November 2020, just 10% of UK properties sold for more than their asking price, which is a clear demonstration of how appetite in the market has soared this year.
Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive at Propertymark, said: “The pressure on the housing market and consequently house prices, is continuing at an unrelenting rate. However, heading into December, the market should start to slow. Those with a property to sell would be wise to act sooner rather than later as the level of demand is expected to continue into the first quarter of next year but cannot last forever.”
Predictions for 2022
The strength and resilience of the country’s property market has surprised many over the course of 2021. Many property investors have continued to expand their portfolios, while others have diversified into areas such as short-term rentals and holiday lets, or HMOs and student housing.
While momentum may begin to return to more normal levels next year, most forecasts predict a stable property market going forwards, which is good news for buyers and investors.
Rightmove believes average asking prices will increase by 5% in 2022. This could add around £17,000 to the average value of a property.
There may be more housing stock coming to the market, too, which will make things easier for buyers. It states that it has seen a 19% increase in the number of people requesting estate agent valuations via Rightmove in the past month, as people look at listing their properties in the new year.
Which areas will fare the best?
According to Rightmove, there are four key areas that are proving particularly popular among buyers right now. These are Scotland, the West Midlands, the south-west and Yorkshire & the Humber. The portal believes these areas could see around 7% house price growth in 2022.
Interestingly, other indices and housing market predictions have placed the north-west top of the list of places to expect the biggest house price growth. The region has led the way in this respect in recent years, as it becomes a more desirable place to live and invest thanks to ongoing regeneration and redevelopment. This is coupled with the surge in big businesses and companies relocating their and boosting employment prospects.