No let up in buyers wanting to move over Christmas...
On to the home stretch before the festivities and with the Christmas Market in full swing but there’s no let up with the number of clients hoping to hand over keys before the holidays. My sales progression expert Sarah has needed all her organisational expertise and a limitless supply of patience to wrangle through more than a double handful of sales in the last fortnight.
However, on the buying end, activity tends to take a back seat to present shopping as owners choose to delay marketing until the New Year (new to market property data shows an expected 20% drop over the course of November). Average stock levels in the city continue to rise slowly (now 91% above the rock bottom of January 2022 but still 33% lower than pre-pandemic November 2019) and selling time has remained static across November at a median average of 42 days from launch to Under Offer. Semi detached homes and the properties in the £300,000 - £400,000 price range have seen the speediest sales in the last quarter. In contradiction to the general media pronouncements of housing market doom, the local market seems to be moving away from frenetic activity and cooling towards normality.
After the rather turbulent effects of the September fiscal announcement, the average two- and five-year fixed mortgage rates rose sharply, but they are edging further away from their daily peak. Mortgage lenders have been reducing rates on their mortgage products after pricing in larger base rate hikes following former prime minister Liz Truss’ unfunded tax cut announcements and, as of late November, the average five-year fixed mortgage rate dropped below 6% for the first time in seven weeks. There may be much more room for improvement in the months to come.
I’m sure some agents will again this year advise prospective owners to launch their properties on Boxing Day and quote some line about it being the most popular day of the year for buyers to search for a new house. Rightmove regularly announces record viewing levels for Boxing Day too. It seems fairly logical when they say that – with Christmas over, why wouldn’t people get on their phones straight away to look for houses? However, most published stats about Boxing Day views concentrate on the difference between this year and last years Boxing Day. That doesn’t mean traffic levels are high at that time, just that they’re better than last year. The first two weeks of exposure on your property is the most critical when it comes to websites like Rightmove, Zoopla etc. Many buyers rely on automatic updates from these sites to be informed about new properties and these only get sent out in the first few days of launch (or if you reduce the price). This honeymoon period of advertising needs to be carefully considered so why would you start on what is really the statistically proven lowest traffic day of the year? Far better to launch in our opinion when views are approaching their highest (between 18th Jan and 4th Feb from our research over the last few years). Another bonus if you wait until Jan – we can take photos of your home without all the tinsel and the kids will have gone back to school!
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