What a few months it has been! – the market was incredibly strong in Jan, and Feb. Even the two weeks before lockdown happened we saw some great numbers in relation to sales and lets.
Obviously during lockdown, this was not so easy. There were some sales agreed from pre-lockdown viewings but overall, the government hit the ‘pause’ button on the property market, which effected the amount of listings and transactions happening in the town.
But, on the 12th May Estate Agents were told they could resume activity and begin selling property again from the 13th providing the guidelines are adhered to with social distancing.
We were not expecting the flurry that was to follow. The phone literally didn’t stop ringing overnight, which caused a nice buzz in the team and we found ourselves going from twiddling our thumbs watching ‘homes under the hammer’ to booking viewings, negotiating offers and agreeing sales. A welcomed feeling.
I found that most movers were moving for one of the following reasons.
- With the ‘new normal’ homeworking was going to be a habit to stay (it certainly is for us!) we found lots of buyers and sellers expressing the desire for a property with a office, preferably a garden office.
- With the lockdown, many people found themselves stuck at home with the entire family and identifying they need more space, particularly more living space (or more bathrooms if you have a shower hogger like me!)
- Some people were finding they have too much space and need to downsize.
- Others wanted to be closer to family.
- A few clients have said that covid-19 made them appreciate life, and the fact it is short and can change at any point, so have chosen to make that move they have been putting off for some time, the move could be downsizing to the west country, or like a client of mine, downsizing to a nice small Essex coastal town to retire.
Of course, there were some other reasons, but they were the common ones I was coming across.
So, with that in mind, what have prices been doing in Rayleigh?
We prices are impossible to tell currently. There is not enough data to give us an accurate feeling as to what prices are doing to property in Rayleigh just yet.
But, there will be A LOT of properties that have now completed having sold just before lockdown. So we will see transaction levels at a really good level.
Looking at Rayleigh, there have been 27 completions in the past 6 months. Which isn’t a lot. Especially when we compare it to 190 in the 6 months prior to this.
why? .. well for 3 months nothing happened, so really 27 is for a 3-month period. This coupled with there would of be a lot of chains fall apart during lockdown due to the virus, and other covid related matters. Could be people being furloughed, less pay, even redundancies. So there would have been a lot of transactions fall apart because of this.
Our agreed sales dropped by a whopping 63% during lockdown. Which shows how many people were scared by the virus. And that fear was exampled everywhere (rightfully so!).
However as we see confidence come back, our sales agreed currently sites at 121% compared to march 15th. Showing that not only has the number of agreed sales recovered in a short period of time, its overtaken the situation we were in before, which shows how great the market has been in the 2 months since we were able to go back.
Hockley however saw slightly less during the same period, they have only had 17 completions in the past 6 months, with 131 in the same period previous. This shows Hockley is a slightly slower market then Rayleigh, however sales are still completing which is a good sign. Especially when we compare the little data we have.
Buyers or sellers’ market?
Currently in Rayleigh there are 197 properties listed for sale in the town, this included multiple agency listings but 197 is a great number. There are 184 properties listed as Sold, or under offer. Which means there are more properties available then under offer, which ultimately is evidence of a buyers’ market. That being said, its unusual times under unusual conditions and there is only 13 properties difference, so I don’t feel it’s a “strong” buyer’ market, and in fact I feel the market is actually an even split.
when we compare this to Hockley, there are 153 properties available, with 157 sold. So more sold then available. This would indicate a sellers’ market but again these numbers are so, so close its difficult to gauge.
Overall Rayleigh is indicating a buyers’ market, Hockley a sellers’ market. Both are small neighbouring villages/town of similar size, with similar values. So its clear how close it is. I think the truth is, it’s either. The main thing is, is it a good time to sell? Then the answer is yes. Is it a good time to buy? If your circumstances are right, then yes.
Something we are seeing is a difficulty for first time buyers getting mortgages. First time buyers are usually at the bottom of 8 out of 10 chains so often they hold the “key” (excuse the pun) to moving the chain forward. So, we are finding the mid/high end market in town taking slightly longer to sell.
Why? Well first-time buyers are finding it hard to get mortgages based on a 10% deposit (90% mortgage). For example, FT Adviser reported today (7th July) that a lender has withdraw their 90% mortgage product for a second time as of 8pm last night.
Data from Moneyfacts show there were 72 Residential mortgages available at a 90% as of June 26th. When you compare this to 751 of the same products back in January.
that being said, Accord mortgages claim the volume of applications resulted in the “bustiest month in the lenders history” since it relaunched the products to the first-time buyers on June 17th.
is it doom and gloom? – no.
the lenders seem to be pulling the products based on a quantity. And by quantity I am talking the amount of applications they are receiving far outweighs their current workforce. So, it seems they are struggling to meet the demand rather then any economy related decisions. Which is positive.
will this get resolved? Most likely, especially with the furlough scheme ends, we will find most people going back to work meaning the workforce is larger, and stronger than before. Resulting in the capacity for volume growing, therefore able to be processing 90% mortgages again and meeting demand.
So overall the market is strong. Things are selling well, and people are still buying.
Yes it is harder for first time buyers to get mortgages, but this seems to be due to workforce difficulties rather then economy. So, if you have a property your selling it may take a little longer to sell.
Of course, given the circumstance its important not to over commit yourself. Be sure that your job is secure and that you have a contingency for most circumstances.
Providing your circumstances allow the move to be possible I do not see any reason why you should not continue as normal.
Of course, values are changing, and we are seeing different parts of the market grow and shrink, but generally I’m feeling positive on what we’re seeing.
Should have you have any property/moving related questions feel free to give me a call/text/whatsapp on 07964343342.