Rightmove: Lockdown clarity sees prospective buyer numbers up 22%

Posted on Monday, March 1, 2021

Records were broken once again at Rightmove with the portal revealing that 17th Feb was the site's busiest day ever as house-hunters gear-up to move home in light of the roadmap out of lockdown finally being announced.

According to Rightmove's latest data, the number of prospective buyers contacting agents in February so far is up by 22% on February last year in a sign that many are planning a move regardless of the stamp duty holiday, and the number of renters contacting agents is up by 39%.

There has also been record activity from people looking to buy or lease commercial property. Visits to this section hit a new high on Wednesday 17th February, and all of the top 25 busiest days for commercial property have been recorded in January and February this year.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday the number of commercial enquiries being sent also hit a new record, as businesses review the type of space they need to reopen as lockdown restrictions hopefully start to ease over the next few months.

The hope of once again being able to travel abroad to view property later this year has also led to Rightmove Overseas reporting a record number of searches, with almost 1.1 million in one day on Sunday 14th February. The most popular destinations people are searching for are Dénia, Costa del Sol and Tenerife.

The waiting game

New research conducted by Rightmove about UK home-movers’ intentions has uncovered a lack of suitable properties as 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%).

The latest Rightmove 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.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, 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 next 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.”

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