Spring is usually a very busy time for the property market in Hemel Hempstead. This year, it’s exceptionally busy for us because buyers are hunting the market to satisfy their new needs amidst a background of cheap mortgages and the stamp duty holiday extensions. A shortage of suitable properties available to buy is putting upwards pressure on prices and we’re detecting growing optimism on the back of the vaccination roll-out.
According to the national Rightmove index for April, they have seen the fastest-selling market since their records began. They report a ‘buying frenzy’ for new stock, with both the average number of days to sell a property reaching its lowest ever level, and the number of houses selling within a week reaching its highest ever level. The national average asking price of property listing on their site hit a new all-time high of £327,797, representing a 2.1% (+£6,733) monthly jump.
According to Rightmove, the fastest selling types of homes nationwide have been two- and three-bedroom semi-detached homes. Another interesting fact they report is that March saw time spent on the Rightmove website surpass two billion minutes in one month for the very first time. Rightmove expects market activity to remain robust for the rest of 2021, even if a little ‘froth’ is taken off the market once the stamp duty holiday ends in England and Wales. In Scotland, housing market activity remains buoyant despite the land and buildings transaction tax holiday ending, which suggests that the same could happen in England and Wales from the end of June. Another reason activity could hold up in the second half of the year is down to second jabs. Some sellers are holding off beginning the process until they are fully vaccinated, which means a new stream of properties could come on line later this year as the vaccine roll out progresses.
The latest data we have from HM Land Registry for Hemel Hempstead shows us the average price of a home is now £468,000, which compares with £391,000 in the region and £382,000 nationally. This means prices are higher than the regional average and higher than the national average. We’re very positive about the outlook for the rest of the year, both for the nationwide reasons already mentioned and for the continuing attraction of Hemel Hempstead as a place for families to live.
Another bit of good news on the national property scene is the arrival of the Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers purchasing homes worth up to £600,000 with only a 5% deposit. The scheme, which was launched on the 19th April will help lots of people, particularly in lower value housing markets such as northern England and Scotland. However, sadly we don’t expect it to make too much difference in our part of the country because average prices are at a point where the earnings multiple required by mortgage lenders is still a major barrier to getting on the housing ladder.
It will be fascinating to see how the market settles again once the winds of Brexit and Covid die down. Perhaps we will see a ‘new normal’ in how people use their homes and offices, or perhaps things will bounce back to the way they were very quickly. Whatever happens, if you’re looking to make you next move, please get in touch today.
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