Why the exclamation mark? Because according to Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, this is a highly unusual time of year to see a strong sellers market – particularly given the current economic backdrop. Nevertheless, the 2.8% rise in new sellers’ average asking prices is the largest October rise for six years.
Shipside goes on to say:
It’s a little bit crazy to have a sellers’ market given the time of year and the warnings of imminent fiscal austerity by all the main political parties. Agents in the north as well as the south are reporting that quality properties are often selling within the week. Buyers are ready to pounce on new instructions and are willing to proceed as they believe prices have bottomed and more are finding the ability to put down the larger deposits required to access the best mortgage deals.
Don’t forget though that we have been warning for some time that there are some fundamental problems within the housing market. A warning echoed by Shipside, who says, “sellers in popular areas are back in the driving seat, though they should watch out for icy conditions ahead, as the market is likely to enter a pre-election freeze by spring next year”.
Add to that the unusually thin market – transaction levels are still 54% down on 2007 – plus the market slow-down that invariably comes with an imminent general election and you can see that it’s not all roses around the door. The following points will all impact the immediate future of the housing market:
Stamp Duty and VAT
Stamp duty holiday due to end, and VAT due to rise on January 1st, giving aspiring and existing home owners less funds for house purchase
Hesitancy in housing market activity before and after election
Sellers may decide to hold off marketing if they anticipate a change of Government will reduce the requirements and costs for Home Information Packs
The effect of post-election fiscal tightening on housing decisions and needs
Given these drivers, if you are thinking of selling your home – now is your window of opportunity.