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What’s hot in the housing market right now

Thinking of moving home? After a quick sale? Our House Price Index reveals what’s catching the attention of buyers - and where.

Guest Author
Words by: Nicky Burridge

Contributing Editor

Which properties are selling the fastest?

Houses are selling three weeks faster than flats as the lockdown-led search for space continues.

It currently takes an average of just 42 days from being listed for sale for houses to reach the 'sale agreed' stage, compared with 62 days for flats.

At a regional level, homes in thenorth east andYorkshire and the Humber are selling the fastest, with sales agreed in an average of just 38 days in both regions, according to our House Price Index.

Meanwhile, homes in the north east and north west have seen the biggest improvement in the time it takes to sell, with the length of time they are listed for before receiving an offer dropping by 17 days and 12 days respectively.

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What’s the most sought-after type of home?

Family homes are the most coveted type of property across the UK, with demand for three-bedroom homes jumping by 30% in the week following the Budget.

Unsurprisingly, the popularity of houses is pushing their prices higher, with values rising by an average of 4.9% in the past year, compared with an increase of 1.9% for flats.

But there are pockets of the country where flats are popular, with demand for one and two-bedroom flats in London and the south east rising after the Budget, likely reflecting increased interest from first-time buyers.

What are the hot housing markets?

More than two-thirds of homes currently for sale in the north east, north west and Yorkshire and the Humber are listed for less than £250,000, meaning buyers in these regions have more opportunity than anywhere else in the country to secure the stamp duty holiday saving before 30 September.

High demand in these regions is driving strong house price growth. At a city level, Manchester and Liverpool posted annual gains of more than 6%, while prices have risen by more than 5% in Leeds and Sheffield, with values in Nottingham and Leicester in the East Midlands on a similar trajectory.

And house price growth in the Midlands, north of England, Wales and Scotland is at an almost 10-year high, fuelled by the relative affordability in these areas. 

What's driving these trends?

Successive lockdowns have prompted many people to re-evaluate their homes and lifestyles, leading to a search for space.

The extension of the stamp duty holiday is also driving buyer interest, with savings available on the first £500,000 of property if they complete – in other words, legally transfer ownership – before June 30. In addition, stamp duty will not be charged on the first £250,000 of a property purchase between 1 July and 30 September.

Meanwhile, more first-time buyers are expected to enter the market once the government’s new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme is launched.

News of the scheme is thought to be behind the recent increase in interest in flats in London and the south east.

Finally, a mismatch between the supply of homes for sale and buyer appetite is putting upward pressure on house prices. Average demand is 13% higher this year than last year, while the number of sellers has fallen by 13%, likely as a result of people being unwilling to open up their homes for viewings during lockdown. 

What could this mean for you?

It’s good news if you’re thinking of selling. There is likely to be demand for your property, especially if it’s in one of these sweet spots. You could also be in a good position to secure a stamp duty saving if you go on to buy a new home.

You can find out how much your home could be worth on Zoopla, with an instant online estimate based on market data. You can also track your home and other properties you’re interested in so you’re ready to move when the time is right.

If you’re on the lookout for a home to buy, you may face significant competition in certain corners of the housing market. So it is important to be organised and be prepared to move quickly.

You can get ahead by registering with Zoopla and signing up for our email alerts, meaning you will be notified as soon as a property matching your search criteria is listed for sale.

And you can use our range of handy tools to find exactly what you’re after. Take our Advanced Search tool - it allows you to search for homes with specific features, such as 'thatched roof'. 

Finally, register with your local estate agents and let them know you might be in the market.

What’s the outlook?

The housing market in general is expected to remain busy as lockdown measures are eased. But despite the stamp duty holiday extension boosting housing sales, house price growth is expected to moderate later in the year.

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research, at Zoopla, explained: “The search for space is driving continued demand for family homes, which means prices for houses are rising faster than flats, and houses are also selling more quickly.

“The prospects for the housing market over the next year have improved on the back of the Budget. The continued search for space, the stamp duty extension and mortgage guarantees will support activity levels and headline house price growth up to the end of June. 

“Yet the pathway out of the lockdown, and the route to a full re-opening of the economy and unwinding of support measures, is unlikely to be simple or smooth.

“We still expect house price growth to moderate later in the year, but overall transactions are set to benefit from an additional boost following the stamp duty extension and tapering.”  

Top three takeaways

  • Houses are selling three weeks faster than flats as the lockdown-led search for space continues

  • The north east and Yorkshire and the Humber are the fastest-moving markets in the UK, with sales agreed in an average of just 38 days in both regions

  • Family homes are the most coveted type of property across the UK, with demand for three-bedroom homes jumping by 30% following the Budget

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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.