Both Zoopla and Rightmove have released data around house prices and buyer demand this week which augurs well for the UK market. Rightmove data shows that the recent stamp duty holiday has lead to a 61% increase in demand nationally compared to this time last year with demand especially strong in London and the commuter belt. Rightmove spokesman Miles Shipside also claims that the data shows
“a growing trend of people looking to move out of urban areas and into smaller towns, with homeowners in built-up areas reassessing their housing needs and looking for places with more outside space.”
Zoopla’s data, released this week by its Research & Insights department, suggests that the demand levels may not subside immediately and that house prices may hold firm despite the impending consequences of a national recession.
Chief among the findings is that time to sell across the country has gone down by 21% since the lockdown and now stands at 27 days, compared to 39 days before. Three-bedroom homes are selling the fastest of all and smaller houses and flats are taking longer to sell as home hunters prioritize space over location.
The report agrees with Rightmove in that demand is running ahead of supply which is sustaining house price growth at +2.5% nationwide. The demographics around the supply side are interesting, with wealthier homeowners perhaps bringing forward their decision to sell before any potential future changes to the tax breaks.
Perhaps most importantly, the report claims that market conditions are “unseasonably strong” and that house prices are set to grow by 2-3% by the end of the year because of the supply and demand imbalance.
Why does this matter?
Portals are right to be fixated by house prices. Not only does the study of data around them give them a good reason to communicate with their customers and generate headlines, but it also gives them some sort of leverage when negotiating with their agent customers. As pressure groups cite black clouds on the economic horizon and possible layoffs as reasons why Rightmove needs to address pricing sustainability, the portals can point to data that promises a resilient housing market despite the recession as justification for maintaining their pricing.