As the UK housing market remains exceptionally busy this year, experts have advised anyone still looking to move home to act now, or risk a disrupted Christmas. Inside Conveyancing reports on new research by Propertymark, the estate agency body, which shows that the average time between offer and exchange is now 13-16 weeks.
The housing market has been booming for the past 12 months, largely thanks to the stamp duty holiday which was introduced by the chancellor Rishi Sunak to stimulate the property market after lockdown. Buyers have been exempt from tax on the first £500,000 of their purchase price between June 2020 and July 2021.
Currently, buyers are paying stamp duty above £250,000, and rates will return to normal after 1 October 2021. The cut in rates prompted a rush to complete property deals, which has also been driven by people looking for extra space, low interest rates, and savings accumulated during lockdown.
Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, discussed the extra pressures the high demand has placed on conveyancers and mortgage brokers, which has led to the current backlogs.
Emerson commented: “A lot of people who are new to the market may not realise how different things are right now. Historically we have all been very used to sales taking 6-8 weeks to go through, sometimes maybe even 4. The current market is a very different beast though and people really do need to be aware that they must plan ahead.”
If you are still hoping to get settled into a new house by Christmas, it is not too late, but you will need to act fast. For those with a property to sell first, the advice is to get the house ‘market ready’ to help attract more offers and ensure a quick sale. Before any photos are taken, declutter the rooms, removing any private documents from view.
Light airy rooms look larger and more inviting, so if there’s time, repaint any dark colours. Remove any signs of mould from the bathroom, and make sure the shower doors are clean. Put any washing up away in the kitchen, and make sure the worktops are as clear as possible. A tidy attractive garden is also a sign of a well-cared for house.
Once you have appointed a suitable estate agents and solicitor to handle the conveyancing, make sure all the necessary documents are in place. You may need paperwork such as the HM Land Registry title documents, gas and electrical check certificates, any notices relating to planning permission and building regulations, and any warranties or guarantees.
When pricing the home, bear in mind the market is still strong, despite the end of the tax breaks. The Guardian reports that UK house prices rose by almost £5,000 in August, defying predictions that inflation would ease. While overpricing will delay the sale, you can still expect to achieve a very good price.
Even if you have not yet accepted an offer, it’s as well to book any removal and storage services, as these are also experiencing high demand, and you don’t want a disappointing Christmas stuck in limbo!
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