More home-hunters than ever before are looking to move

If you’ve decided that now is the right time for you to move home, you’re not alone. 

That’s because more people than ever before are looking to move and on Wednesday 17th February we counted over 8.5 million visits to our website – a new record for Rightmove! 

This surpassed our previous all-time high for daily visits, which was on 8th July last year when the stamp duty holiday was first announced. 

The news comes amid rumours that the stamp duty holiday deadline will be extended by the Chancellor in this week’s Spring Budget announcement. 

Our data analysts also report that the number of prospective buyers contacting estate agents so far this month is up by 22% on February last year. 

This is a strong sign that lots of people are planning a move regardless of the stamp duty holiday, and the number of renters contacting agents is up by 39%.   

What do we expect to see in the housing market this year? 

As well as being able to report record home-hunter activity, we’ve also looked at movers’ intentions for 2021 – and our research team has uncovered some interesting trends. 

Firstly, our research showed that a lack of suitable properties available is the biggest reason putting home-owners off selling their home right now, with a third (33%) of people who are planning to sell later in the year saying this is the reason they are delaying.  

Other key reasons are waiting until lockdown is over (22%) and wanting to know if the stamp duty holiday is going to be extended or not (24%).  

Our latest data shows there are 21% fewer new properties coming to market than this time last year. 

Of those currently in the process of moving or planning to move this year, one in five (21%) are worried they will not complete in time to make use of the stamp duty holiday if it does come to an end on March 31st.  

A bigger group of 37% say the stamp duty holiday was not a factor in their decision to move, while 16% say they are likely to pull out of the sale if they don’t complete in time to make use of the stamp duty savings. 

What do the experts say? 

Our resident property data expert Tim Bannister explained that there are huge levels of pent-up demand across Great Britain at the moment. 

He said: “Despite all of the uncertainty right now, there are clear signs from buyers that they want to move home in the UK this year.  

“Our traffic levels are on a par with the mini-boom from last summer, and July’s busiest ever day last year has been replaced by a lockdown day in February.  

“Now that we have some clarity on what the roadmap out of lockdown could look like we expect to see more people putting their home on the market. This should help open up more choice in the market to satisfy the strong buyer demand we’re seeing. 

“I’ve heard a number of stories of people falling in love with their dream home, only to find it takes time to sell their own one and so lose out on their move.  

“I do completely understand the thinking that home-owners want to find somewhere first, but in the current competitive market if they already have their property up for sale it means when they do find that dream home they’ll have a much better chance of having their offer accepted. 

“People will be eager to hear what the Chancellor decides to do to stamp duty in the budget this  week and there are clearly a number of people who are worried about missing the current deadline, but our research shows there are also a large group who do not see this as a factor in deciding to move this year.” 

What’s happening in the overseas market? 

The hope of once again being able to travel abroad to view property later this year has also led to a record number of searches for overseas properties. 

We saw almost 1.1 million buyer searches in just one day on Sunday 14th February. The most popular destinations people are searching for are Dénia and Costa del Sol in Spain, and Tenerife.  

What’s happening with commercial properties? 

We can also reveal that there has been record activity from people looking to buy or lease commercial property.  

Visits to the commercial section of our website also hit a new high on Wednesday 17th February. 

In fact, all of the top 25 busiest days for people looking at commercial property have been recorded in January and February this year.  

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on the roadmap out of lockdown, the number of people contacting agents about commercial properties also hit a new record. 

We think this is due to the fact that businesses are reviewing the type of space they need to reopen as lockdown restrictions hopefully start to ease over the next few months.  


READ MORE: Where are Britain’s top price hotspots right now?

The header image for this article comes courtesy of Stags.

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