North West housing market booming as summer holidays take a back seat

Could we be heading to another property boom following the Covid-19 lockdown?

By David Nowell
Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 3:45 pm
There has been no summer 'dip' in the housing market this year
There has been no summer 'dip' in the housing market this year

Property website Rightmove says it has seen its busiest month for sales in a decade, as buyers and sellers focused on property rather than holidays.

It said sales worth a record sum of more than £37 billion were agreed in July – marking the highest monthly total since its records started over 10 years ago.

In July last year, £25 billion-worth of sales were agreed.

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Across Britain, the average asking price on a home in August now stands at £319,497 – edging down slightly by 0.2 per cent or £768 from £320,265 in July, which had been a record high.

However, asking prices did reach new record highs in August in seven nations and regions around the country– Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West England, the East Midlands, the East of England, and the West Midlands.

In the North West, the average house price is now £210,438.

That is up one per cent month on month and 5.5 per cent annually.

The average time to sell a house is 63 days.

London pulled down the national asking price trend, with the average price tag on a home there falling by two per cent month on month.

Rightmove said that between August 5 and August 12, sales were up by 60 per cent compared with the same period in 2019, as the usual seasonal summer slowdown did not materialise.

The website said asking prices usually fall at this time of year, as many people are normally away on holiday.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “We associate this time of year with diving into the pool rather than the property market, and of sand and sun rather than bricks and mortar, but buyers have had a record £37 billion monthly spending spree.”

He added that the increase in activity is not just due to the stamp duty holiday recently introduced in England and Northern Ireland.

“More property is coming to market than a year ago in all regions, and at a national level the new supply and heightened demand seem relatively balanced,” he said.

“However, those expressing most desire to move on are unsurprisingly in London and its commuter belt.”

Kevin Shaw, managing director of residential sales at Leaders Romans Group (LRG), said: “As many of us continue to work from home, people have realised business can function well while doing so, and so no longer want to commute into big cities five days a week, or live in urban environments closer to offices.

“There is real demand to live in rural locations providing green space.

“The recently announced stamp duty holiday is another market accelerator too, with many investors and buyers exploiting the savings that are to be made.”

Dominic Murphy, managing director of DM & Co estate agents in Solihull, said: “I suspect that the market will remain buoyant until job losses filter through and really start to hit the market in full force.”

London has 69 per cent more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60 per cent and the East at 56 per cent .

Rightmove’s Mr Shipside said: “With work and transport patterns potentially changing most around the capital, commuter-belt properties need to have more appeal to prospective buyers than just proximity to a station.

“Many buyers do appear to be satisfying their new needs in these regions, as the number of sales agreed in each is also at a record level."

Mr Shipside added: “The out-of-city exodus has helped push prices to record levels in Devon and Cornwall, for example, where working from home means a different lifestyle much closer to your new doorstep.”