What a strange world we live in when sales of houses are going through the roof against a background of a global pandemic.
Whilst the Stamp Duty holiday is welcome, this was happening before the Chancellor muttered a word.
Just a few weeks ago it would have been absurd to believe that the housing market would be performing so well post Lockdown.
Record sales agreed
We have been trusted to sell some truly wonderful homes in recent weeks and just look at these results all with Covid-19 health and safety protocols strictly obeyed.
Last month we agreed sales on 50 houses and when I looked earlier today we had already agreed sales on 34 properties so far in July — and we are only halfway through the month.
We even sold 7 in a single day.
As a benchmark, we sell about 30 houses each month in normal times and we are the largest agent in out patch by some margin. These figures are remarkable and surprising in equal measure.
Viewings are up too. In June we arranged 570 viewing appointments and so far in July over 340.
We have one of the highest pipelines of ‘sales agreed’ in our 170 year history with over 120 properties being nurtured through the sales process.
Some sellers have seen multiple buyers for their homes and competing offers in many instances — right now it’s a sellers’ market.
These results are very impressive by any margin and break Hobbs Parker’s records but what do they tell us about the housing market.
Our Chancellor bets on the property market
Rishi Sunak knew what he was doing when he allowed the property industry to start operating again, it has multiplying effect on the economy in all kinds of ways.
When everything looks uncertain, property is often seen as a safe haven much like gold in investment terms.
Demand from London buyers is as high as ever
People need and want to move for whatever reason, they certainly know what they need and want after several weeks in ‘lockdown’. And the talk of people wanting to move to the countryside from London is very real – but more on that another time.
Early Bird subscribers show dramatic growth
Another, objective measure of buyer interest and demand is the number of buyers registered for our Early Bird email updates. Buyers keen to be the first to find out out new properties to the market first sign up for these as we send these out up to 48 hours before the general public can view the properties on Rightmove.
Before lockdown in late March 4,158 buyers were registered for this unique service with numbers having been pretty stable over the year. Today there are 5,537 buyers on our Early Bird list – an increase of 33%.
Money is still cheap to borrow.
Whilst the first-time buyers have been impacted by lower loan-to-value ratios, our buyers typically have healthy equity in their homes and so have not been impacted by this.
There is no getting away from it we have some of the lowest mortgage rates in history.
Outstanding transport links, access to the coast, beautiful countryside, more pleasant environment, larger gardens, a new place to work from, more bedrooms for new arrivals, a view to admire from a desk at home.
The property market has often proved the pundits wrong and delivered well in difficult times just when the economy needs all the help it can get.
It will be interesting to look back at this short period in history as the months and years pass.