The drive for more space is creating increased activity and competition in the housing market, according to Rightmove’s data expert Tim Bannister.
“Needing more space has always been the most popular reason for moving house, but now there’s a new urgency for extra space to be able to work from home, which means that there are different sets of buyers competing for the same type of property,” Bannister said.
The British housing market boom has affected house prices for buyers at all levels of the larger-homes market, with the strongest sales being of four-bedroomed detached properties and larger, Rightmove said.
‘Second-stepper Homes’Three- and four-bedroomed homes, described by Rightmove as “second-stepper homes,” have seen agreed sales up 55 percent on the same time last year and have reached a record average price of 291,618 pounds ($371,193).
Bannister said purchasing properties with extra bedrooms is being regarded as a necessity by more British homebuyers than before the national lockdown in March and April, enacted to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
“At the start of the year a fourth bedroom was very much a luxury for buyers trading up, but it’s now emerging as a must-have for those who are able to take that step,” Bannister said.
Two-bedroomed and smaller properties in the first-time buyer sector of the market were the weakest on sales agreed, but were still up 36 percent.
The boom in Britain’s house prices comes after the reopening if its property market in May following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Unprecedented Market ActivityBen Hudson, managing director of Hudson Moody estate agents in York, North Yorkshire, said he has never been so busy.
“In the first few months of the market reopening I was saying that we were as busy as we’d ever been, but even that is now paling into insignificance when compared with how busy we are right now,” he said via Rightmove.
Following the March lockdown it seemed that “almost half the country re-evaluated where they were living,” Hudson added.
“During the lockdown people saw the benefits of gardens, outside space and working from home,” he said.
Potential BottlenecksNick Leeming, chairman of estate agents Jackson-Stops, warned, via Rightmove, of potential bottlenecks for customers in processing sales amid the heightened market activity.
“When the property market experiences unprecedented demand, such as the UK has seen post-lockdown, you can understand how potential logjams can form throughout the transaction process,” he said.
Houses, not FlatsThe British rental market has also been affected by the changing housing preferences and the desire for more space that has emerged since the lockdown.
“Houses are also rising in popularity over flats,” he said.
Several factors have affected the recovery in Britain’s housing market, including dammed up demand from people who had already decided to move but whose plans were put on hold during the lockdown.
Also driving recovery is an upsurge in market activity from buyers who want to move house before the end of the government’s tax break currently in place in the form of a stamp duty holiday that is due to end in March 2021.
“Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as a result of the after effects of the pandemic and as government support schemes wind down. If this comes to pass, it would likely dampen housing activity once again in the quarters ahead,” he said.