Search activity up 27%, but lowest ever number of new sellers

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Rightmove’s early indicators of housing market activity in 2012 show that interest in buying is strong despite the lack of mortgage finance, though the willingness or ability of new sellers to come to market remains weak.

Search activity on Rightmove during the first 10 days of 2012 reached new record heights, up by 27% on the same period in 2011, as prospective movers intensively research the market.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove comments:
“Old records are being shattered as search activity is up by a staggering 27% on this time last year. Potential buyers and sellers are looking more often and researching more thoroughly. In areas where there is a lot of property up for sale, buyers are looking hard for properties that tempt them with something really special in terms of value, potential, location or quality of finish.”

There have been more than 44 million property searches on Rightmove during the first ten days of 2012. While this doesn’t necessarily indicate a surge in proceedable buyer numbers, it does highlight a strong pent-up demand to move and is also a reflection that value-seeking buyers who can proceed are taking extra care to research the market. It also emphasises the fact that, were a larger number of mortgages available to the market, the interest, confidence and necessity to buy would lift the current muted sales transaction numbers from the virtual subsistence level of the last three years.

The number of properties coming to market this month equates to an average of less than one new listing per branch per week. This is the lowest recorded in the ten years of Rightmove’s House Price Index and around half of pre-credit crunch levels. Agents report prospective sellers are being deterred by a combination of a shortage of confidence, lack of choice of property to buy and restrictive mortgage lending.

Shipside explains:
“The increased market fragmentation caused by the credit crunch means that success in selling now requires a very careful and complex micro-market analysis, rather than a wishful price-punt to see what happens. There can be hotspots and blackspots by property type within the same geographic location depending on local buyer confidence, demographics and their ability to obtain a mortgage, so doing your research and taking expert advice are critical.”

Depending on local market conditions, there will be differing pressures on the direction of prices. The lack of property coming to market in some areas will help to underpin new sellers’ asking prices in those locations, especially as estate agents compete to attract fresh stock for the new year.  January often sees the beginning of a ‘spring bounce’ in the asking prices of properties coming to market, and there is again evidence of this with an increase of 1.4% in the first week of 2012. This is masked within the overall monthly price fall of 0.8%.

To view the London House Price Index report click here

3 Responses to “Search activity up 27%, but lowest ever number of new sellers”

  1. ShaunPeter Kelly Says:

    Search activity up 27%, but lowest ever number of new sellers.

    This headline needs no explanation?

    The current world credit crisis has put everyone on edge and those householders wishing to upgrade are being very cautious. Financial experts are predicting a second recession therefore the housing market is obviously heading for a dramatic downturn as people are staying where they are for the time being. Those who need to sell their properties must drop their prices now if any profit is to be made.

  2. David Swan Says:

    We put our house up for sale just before Xmas and so far not a single viewing even though it is now £12,800 less than it was on for in 2008.

  3. Auth Says:

    You should claim the pro-rated nmuoat you paid on the old property and any pro-rated nmuoat you paid on the new property (often in advance of the year-end billing), then remember to make any necessary adjustments after official tax bills come out and get re-divided. In theory, you paid the taxes by giving the money to somebody else (or putting it into escrow for taxes) and you are allowed to assume they actually made the necessary payments to the necessary authorities. A lender holding tax escrow should give you an annual statement of taxes collected, held and paid out.

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