Back to all Blog 18 January 2021

10% more property sales were agreed in 2020 than in 2019

The sales market has seen a busy start to the year, although asking prices have dipped in the last month as vendors price competitively.

The average asking price of a property coming to market has fallen by 0.9% (-£2,887) in the last month. Rightmove suggests the decline is down to “some new sellers still hoping to tempt buyers and squeeze in a sale before the stamp duty holiday ends.”

Buying activity continues to romp along. Visits to the property portal are up by a third (33%) in the opening days of the year (between 2nd and 12th January) compared to the same period last year, while the number of buyers contacting agents is up by 12%, and the number of sales agreed is up by 9%.

The number of agreed sales in 2020 as a whole was 10% higher than in 2019, despite a seven-week closure of the property market in the Spring.But new buyers are unlikely to beat the 31st March deadline, as the average time to complete a purchase is now over four months (126 days).

Rightmove estimates that 613,00o properties are currently in a conveyancing “logjam”, having sold subject to contract but awaiting legal completion. The portal warns that around one in six of these buyers (c.100,000) will face an “unexpected” tax bill if the SDLT holiday is not extended. “New buyers in the market should not be factoring in any stamp duty savings,” advises Rightmove, “unless they are first-time buyers, who will still be mainly exempt after the March deadline has passed.”


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