Housing market sees busiest month for over ten years

Buyers and sellers have been rewriting the housing market rulebook this summer as more people are moving home than ever before.

July is typically a quieter time of year as people go away on their summer holidays, but last month was extraordinarily busy for home-movers across the UK.

In fact, we saw a massive £37 billion worth of property sales agreed in July – the busiest month for home buying since we started tracking this data over ten years ago.

Our latest weekly sales agreed figure is also up by 60% compared to the same week in 2019 as buyers continue to press ahead with their home-moving plans.

We’ve also recorded unseasonal all-time highs for new seller asking prices in seven regions, with the rising popularity of countryside locations driving prices in places like Devon and Cornwall.

However, these unprecedented levels of buyer activity may lead to processing delays and mean that you’ll need to be patient to get to completion.

What are the headline figures?

  • Highest number of sales agreed in a month for more than ten years, and with a record total value of over £37 billion
  • Sales agreed for July are up by 38% on 2019, and a massive 20% higher than the previous record set in March 2017
  • Latest weekly sales agreed figure up by 60% compared to the same week in 2019
  • Highest number of properties coming to market in a month since March 2008, and there are 44% more properties coming to market compared to the same period a year ago, though there are considerable regional variations
  • Unseasonal record high for new seller asking prices in seven regions, but London drags down the national average to a 0.2% fall due to its own more typical 2.0% seasonal monthly drop

What do the experts say?

Our resident property expert Miles Shipside explained that properties in typical commuter-belt areas now need to have more going for them then proximity to a train station alone.

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

“London has 69% more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60% and the East at 56%. 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. 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.”

What are estate agents saying?

Kevin Shaw, Managing Director of Residential Sales at Leaders Romans Group (LRG), said: “This is positive news for both the property sector, and the wider economy. The market performed well in Q1 this year, and has picked up since lockdown restrictions were lifted. Pent-up buying demand is a key factor for this post-lockdown emergence, as is the increased demand for living space and gardens. 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. We’ve also seen stock levels increase – growing supply gives buyers more choice. These figures are extremely positive, but unlikely to lead to a sustained boom in prices.“

Dominic Murphy, Managing Director of DM & Co. Estate Agents in Solihull, added: “The market is showing incredible signs of resilience post-lockdown. The chancellor’s announcement has certainly contributed to this bounce back and the market is more active now than it has been in the last ten years. July 2020 was the best month in DM & Co.’s history .

“We’re seeing increased activity across all price brackets and expect this to continue well into Q4 as buyers will be doing all that is in their power to push sales through before the end of the stamp duty holiday. I suspect that the market will remain buoyant until job losses filter through and really start to hit the market in full force and mortgage-ability starts to be questioned. If you can be in a chain-free position, you are most likely to be taking advantage of the momentum that the market is seeing and not be open to chains breaking further down the line.”


READ MORE: Why are so many people moving this summer?

To read August’s House Price Index in full, click here.

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