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Over the course of the pandemic a total of 275,000 homes have been missing from the sales market in comparison to the previous 12 months. For every 100 homes that came onto the market to sell in the 12 months leading up to the start of the pandemic, just 85 have come on in the 12 months since. And for every 100 houses coming onto the market pre-pandemic there were 82 for sale in the following 12 months, and 87 flats. There are now around a third fewer homes on the market than there were five years ago.

This lack of stock has caused the time between homes coming onto the market and the first viewing to fall. In March, it took eight days on average between a home coming onto the market and a viewing, the lowest figure on record.

More viewings, more quickly, also means time to sell has fallen across multiple price brackets. The average home went under offer after 49 days, down by two days compared with 2020, marking one of the strongest starts to a year since 2015.

Despite the lack of homes coming onto the market, the second half of February marked a tipping point where the year-on-year change in buyer numbers jumped back into positive territory. While the first month of lockdown in January saw prospective buyer numbers tumble by a fifth on the same time last year, they recovered sharply midway though February. Investors rushing to beat the stamp duty holiday led the way, increasing by more than any other group. Despite this, three first-time buyers registered with a branch for each investor.


The increases in first-time buyer and investor numbers means that first-time buyers viewed 65% of all homes sold in Q1 2021, while investors viewed 45%. Both figures are the highest level since the pandemic began.

This rush of investors has translated into 18% more companies set up to hold buy-to-let properties during the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2020. There are now a total of 237,000 companies holding buy-to-let property in Great Britain.

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Spring 2021 Market Insight

Spring 2021 Market Insight
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