March’s property market analysis
We’re far enough into the year to look back at the property predictions for 2022 to see if the forecasts were right. The majority of the experts assumed the market would revert to its familiar, seasonally-driven pattern – predictable peaks and more settled troughs – but statistics from the first quarter of this year paint a very different picture.
Rising property prices are a recurrent trend. While the Office for National Statistics reported that house price growth significantly outpaced wage growth in 2021, (Zoopla found that one in five homes ‘earned’ more money in value uplift last year than average worker took home), this March, housebuilder Bellway reported that inflation is also being outpaced by UK house prices.
With the March trading period closed, now is a good time to see how buying, selling and lettings activity has fared over the last few weeks and months.
If you’re a potential seller
There have been widespread property price rises, as evidenced by a number of third-party sources. Rightmove recorded a new house price record in March, with values rising by 1.7%. This pushed the average price of a property through the £350,000 barrier for the first time. In monetary terms, the average property in March 2022 cost £5,760 more than in February.
Elsewhere, Nationwide’s data analysis identified an eight-month streak of house price rises, with their records indicating a 1.1% month-on-month increase in the last four weeks. This puts current UK annual house price growth at its strongest since 2004 – 12.6% in February and rising to 14.3% in March.
Demand that is outstripping supply is behind soaring property values. Those thinking of selling will find Rightmove’s latest data particularly interesting. The portal says there are twice as many buyers as sellers active in the market, suggesting now is ‘the best ever spring sellers’ market’. In fact, 22% of sales are being agreed on Rightmove within the first week of the property being marketed, while 47% are finding a buying within a fortnight of the listing being made public.
If you’re a buyer
With double the number of buyers to sellers, there is fierce competition for properties and some are proving more popular than others. Second-stepper homes are selling the fastest, comments Rightmove. Just over half of this property type – typically a two- or three-bedroom house – finds a buyer within the first two weeks of marketing.
When it comes to value, purchasers should expect to pay more for a substantial family home. The portal’s March report details a 3.8% jump in the value of homes with four bedrooms or more due to high demand and lack of stock. This may rebalance in the near future, however, as Rightmove noticed 12% more properties of this size have come to market in March, compared to the same period in 2021.
If you’re a landlord
While the lettings market never went away, its light has dimmed a little in the last few years. This quarter, however, has been about the recovery and it is happening at pace. Two major reports both indicate that rents are rising thanks to a lack of available properties to let. HomeLet’s March Rental Index revealed how much values have risen in the last 12 months – up 8.7% between March 2021 and March 2022.
In terms of monthly rent rises, Goodlord’s latest Rental Index illustrates how the rental value recovery has picked up speed in recent weeks. Its analysis showed that rents had risen 4% between February and March this year, with every single region seeing growth in values.
In other lettings news, void periods are at their lowest since August 2021. Goodlord reports an 11% reduction in the number of empty days between tenants – down to 16 in March from 18 in February.
If you’re a tenant
Rental value rises do mean that the UK’s average monthly rent is now four figures. Both HomeLet and Goodlord’s March Rental Indexes show rents have surpassed the £1,000 a month marker – at an estimated £1,078 and £1,006 a month, respectively. There’s a softener, however, as the same report found the average tenant salary rose in March, up from £28,781 per tenant to £29,549.
Our March property overview details average figures for the entire UK but as local property experts, we are continually assessing your immediate market. Contact us for a snapshot of property prices and rental values where you live.
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