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Almost four in ten homes sell for asking price or MORE

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The number of homes selling for asking price or above is increasing as buyers chase down homes in a buoyant property market, new figures have revealed.

The percentage has been rising since the housing market reopened last year – in May in England, and in June in Wales – and has now reached a record high

At the most recent point asking and selling prices could be compared, in January this year, almost four in ten homes sold in England and Wales – at 37 per cent – achieved their final asking price or above, according to Rightmove.

With annual house price inflation accelerating since then – to 10.9 per cent in May, according to Nationwide Building Society – the proportion of asking price or higher deals may have grown further.

In January this year, more than a third of homes in England and Wales - at 37 per cent - achieved their final asking price or above, according to Rightmove

In January this year, more than a third of homes in England and Wales – at 37 per cent – achieved their final asking price or above, according to Rightmove

The property website based its research on its own asking prices and sold price data from the Land Registry.

The latest figure is an increase from 28 per cent in January 2020, and significantly higher than the long-term average of 23 per cent between 2005 and 2021.

The last record was set back in May 2016, when 36 per cent of homes sold for the asking price or above.

The region with the greatest number of asking price or more sales was Yorkshire and the Humber where 45 per cent of sellers saw their home selling for at least the listed price tag.

London saw the smallest proportion of homes reach at least the asking price, but even in the capital the figure was 30 per cent. 

The long-term average of homes achieving the asking price or above between 2005 and 2021 is 23 per cent

The long-term average of homes achieving the asking price or above between 2005 and 2021 is 23 per cent

Among the properties that reached asking price across England and Wales in January, 18 per cent sold for more than the listed price, which is the same as the previous high of 18 per cent in May 2016. 

Meanwhile, 19 per cent sold for exactly the asking price.

The long-term average between 2005 and 2021 for the proportion of homes selling for over the asking price is 10 per cent.

PERCENTAGE OF HOMES SOLD  FOR ASKING PRICE – AND AVE PRICE ACHIEVED
% of homes selling for asking price or above Ave % of final asking price achieved
Yorkshire and The Humber 45% 98.50%
North West 41% 98.20%
East Midlands 40% 98.40%
North East 39% 98.10%
West Midlands 39% 98.30%
East of England 37% 98.40%
South West 35% 98.10%
South East 34% 98.00%
Wales 32% 97.40%
London 30% 97.40%
England & Wales 37% 98.10%
Source: Rightmove & Land Registry based on January 2021 data.  

Rightmove’s Data Tim Bannister said: ‘This unique study quantifies the buyer bidding wars that agents have been reporting since the markets reopened last year, and is further evidence of the unprecedented market that emerged from the various lockdowns with many people deciding they wanted or needed to move as their requirements on space and surroundings changed.

‘I would, however, caution against sellers being tempted to ask their agent to put their property on for a price that’s much higher than market value.

‘Although many agents are seeing buyers scrambling to put in offers, if your property is priced too high at the beginning it will stick out like a sore thumb as buyers will compare the asking prices of similar properties in the same area.

‘You need to first get people through the door, even for desirable properties in the hotter areas. 

‘My advice would be to listen to your agent’s expert opinion, and be mindful that the market is now showing early signs of cooling.’

What final offer should you make? 

What should you offer if you’re faced with a bidding war on a property for sale that you want to buy and are invited to make your best and final offer?

We spoke to two experts about how to approach reaching the final amount you bid – one an estate agent selling homes and the other a buying agent, who acts for purchasers.

Vendors who receive multiple offers at final stage may choose the buyer who they would most like to see living in their home 

Robert McLaughlin, of estate agents KFH, said: ‘The buyer should first ask their agent for advice to get an idea on what the seller might accept as a final offer. 

‘Buyers should be prepared to offer the maximum price they are willing to pay. 

‘In the current market, buyers who attempt to offer an amount lower than the asking price may not endear themselves to the vendor. Buyers should ensure that they are flexible on their time frames, build a good rapport with the vendor and reiterate their position and the steps they have taken in writing. 

‘Vendors who receive multiple offers at final stage may choose the buyer who they would most like to see living in their home.’ 

Buying agent Henry Pryor said: ‘Work out what the property is worth to you, add £100 and that’s what you should bid. 

 The best you can do is to offer what the property is worth to you, and to stress your position – and pray

‘Don’t worry whether it is above or below the asking price. A property is worth what you will pay for it, the seller gets to decide if it’s enough.

‘If someone pays more then they either liked it more than you or had deeper pockets. 

‘I’ve done 24 ‘best and final offers’ this year, and been successful at 15. It’s a lousy way to buy a house and the best you can do is to offer what the property is worth to you, and to stress your position – such as having your finances and solicitors in place solicitor – and pray.’

 

 

The research matched individual Rightmove listings to Land Registry transactions and analysed the difference between the final asking price on Rightmove with the eventual sold price.

Data runs from January 2005 to January 2021, which is the latest month with sufficient sold price data available from Land Registry.

There is currently data available for an estimated 75 per cent of homes that completed in January, compared to an estimated 4 per cent available so far for homes that completed in April, with no data available yet for May completions.

The property website based its research on its own asking prices and sold price data from the Land Registry

The property website based its research on its own asking prices and sold price data from the Land Registry

Bruce King, of estate agents Cheffins in Cambridge, said: ‘As the winter of 2020 saw one of the busiest periods in the property market to date, the number of completions of properties in January were also much higher than usual, with the majority of houses being sold at over the asking price.

‘The last quarter of 2020 saw almost double the number of property sales agreed in comparison to 2019, as a number of factors impacted the housing market.

‘The coronavirus pandemic continued to put massive pressure on property sales outside of London and as buyers moved out to the regions in their droves, we saw a frenzied market with properties coming to the market selling within only a matter of days, with competitive bidding situations fast becoming the new normal.

‘The festive period presented itself with a lack of Christmas parties or holidays and so people were less distracted through the back end of last year and more willing to consider a January completion date.

‘For many they wanted to start the New Year with a new start, in a new property, and were willing to pay over the asking price to make that happen. This market behaviour we saw is an unusual phenomenon however, and it’s likely that the market will start to settle once the world slowly begins to open up again.

‘I’m doubtful we will see that level of ferocity in the market again this year. What has also certainly been the case over the past 18 months or so is that people have reignited their love for the house they live in. Home is now much higher on their priority list, rather than eating out, holidays or cars.’

And Marc von Grundherr, of estate agents Benham & Reeves in London, said: ‘It’s little wonder really that such a large proportion of home sales are at asking price or above given that the stamp duty holiday and pent up demand has led to a 50 per cent hike in buyer demand and therefore transactions.’

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Cladding-hit flat owner to send repair bills to developer after floor collapses

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‘I’ll be sending the bill to the chief executive’: Cladding-hit flat owner hits out at developer after his floor collapses in latest building fiasco

  • Homeowner sees floor at his London flat collapse in latest building fiasco
  • We exclusively reveal the full extent of the damage – a hole that is 40cm by 30cm
  • The damage is the latest question about building work in flats across Britain
  • Many flats have already been hit by the cladding crisis and face huge repair bills 










A leaseholder who is already having to deal with expensive cladding issues has hit out at poor craftsmanship after the floor of his flat collapsed beneath his feet.

Liam Spender explained that he was at home at the weekend when he felt the floor give way.

‘I felt the floor go and moved quickly out of the way. I turned back and there was a dip in the carpet. I nearly fell through the floor,’ he said.

Leaseholder Liam Spender (pictured) has hit out at poor craftsmanship at his London home in Canary Wharf

Leaseholder Liam Spender (pictured) has hit out at poor craftsmanship at his London home in Canary Wharf

Mr Spender lifted the carpet at his London flat near Canary Wharf to reveal the full extent of the damage – a hole that is approximately 40cm by 30cm.

He explained that his flat is across two levels, meaning that the floor between is allowed to be made as it is – with chipboard and wooden joists – and does not need to include concrete. 

However, Mr Spender claimed that the sheets of chipboard were not adequately supported by the floor joists. 

The damaged floor is on a gallery above his bedroom. ‘It could have been a lot worse and I could have gone straight through,’ he said.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Spender explained how the floor was not adequate, saying: ‘There is only air between the floor boards and the room underneath.’

Mr Spender claimed that the chipboard floor was not adequately supported by the floor joists

Mr Spender claimed that the chipboard floor was not adequately supported by the floor joists

The flat owner revealed the full extent of the damage - a hole that is approximately 40cm by 30cm

The flat owner revealed the full extent of the damage – a hole that is approximately 40cm by 30cm

It is the latest challenge Mr Spender has at his building, as he already faces a bill for remediation works due to cladding issues.

‘I’m going to get the bill for fixing the mess on cladding. The broken floor is literally a step too far. 

He said: ‘I’m going to get the bill for fixing the mess on cladding. The broken floor is literally a step too far.

‘I have not had my bill for the cladding issues yet. But I’ll be sending the bill for the floor and the cladding – when it comes – marked for the attention of the chief executive and chairman of Berkeley homes.’

Since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, concerns about cladding have become a national issue.

Lenders have refused to provide finance on some types of cladding, leaving some flat owners trapped in unsafe homes that they are unable to sell.

Berkeley Group was approached for comment, but declined to comment. 

Mr Spender said the broken floor was 'a step too far' as he was already expecting a repair bill for cladding issues at his building

Mr Spender said the broken floor was ‘a step too far’ as he was already expecting a repair bill for cladding issues at his building

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How do you feel about the new carbon budgets?

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We want to hear your views on the proposed new carbon budgets which, the Government says, will change how people live and work. The proposed budgets, published by the Climate Change Advisory Council, will apply to every sector of the economy and will outline a limit for total emissions that can be released.

The first carbon budget, which will run from 2021 to 2025, will see emissions reduce by 4.8 per cent on average each year for five years. The second budget, which will run from 2026 to 2030, will see emissions reduce by 8.3 per cent on average each year for five years. The council says the budgets will require “transformational changes for society” but that failing to act would have “grave consequences”. Environmental campaigners say the budgets will provide a cleaner, healthier and safer future but some rural groups such as the Irish Farmers’ Association say they will have “serious repercussions”.

How do you feel about the new carbon budgets?

Now we’d like to hear your views: Do you support the budgets or are you against them; do they go too far or not far enough?

We will publish a selection of your responses online (If you are reading this on the Irish Times app, click here to access the form for submissions).

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House sales shoot up a THIRD in September amid fears of mortgage rate hike

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The number of homes bought and sold in Britain rose by two thirds in September compared to August, with experts believing buyers are seeking to get ahead of a potential rise in mortgage rates. 

There were nearly 161,000 property transactions in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis, a 67.5 per cent increase on the previous month, according to latest figures from HMRC. 

They also increased by 68 per cent compared to September 2020, and 63 per cent compared to the ‘normal’ market average in September 2017 to 2019.

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

The cost of a mortgage could be set to increase, if the Bank of England base rate rises

Experts say the sharp rise was only partly a result of the Government’s stamp duty holiday, which has fuelled price growth of around £25,000 in the last year but finally ended on 30 September. 

It initially allowed buyers to save up to £15,000 in taxes as they did not need to pay stamp duty on the portion of their property purchase under £500,000. 

But in September, the tax break would have had a more subdued effect.

In England and Northern Ireland, it was tapered down between July and September so that buyers could only save £2,500.

And the holiday had already expired in Scotland and Wales, on 31 March and 30 June respectively. 

Given that the impact of the stamp duty holiday was lessening, some suggest that other factors have become more important in maintaining high levels of activity in the housing market. 

There are a number of things at play, according to Lawrence Bowles, senior research analyst at Savills.

‘There’s more to this activity than a stamp duty holiday: record-low mortgage rates, desire for more space, and a core of unmet pent up demand all continue to push up transaction volumes,’ he says. 

Although it is one of several reasons why the housing market remains hot, the desire for a cheap mortgage has become more of a pressing issue for buyers in recent days and weeks. 

This is because speculation about a rise in the Bank of England’s base rate has threatened an increase in the current super-low rates.

At the moment, rates are available as low as 0.89 per cent – but they are already rising. At its lowest, the cheapest fixed rate on the market was 0.84 per cent.

Major lenders including NatWest, HSBC and Barclays have all moved to increase rates on some mortgages, after months of sustained falls. 

With a base rate rise being predicted by some for December, experts are suggesting that the threat of mortgage rates going up is the ‘new stamp duty holiday’ and that the rush to complete sales before rates rise is now keeping the housing market buoyant.

Simon Bath, chief executive of technology company iPlace Global which created the property advice app Moveable, says: ‘We have reached another crossroads in which following the stamp duty holiday, there is another potential deadline for Brits to prepare for.

‘It seems likely that house prices will continue to rise before demand slows down, as Brits race to obtain lower mortgage rates.’

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove

Rising costs: Those buying homes have seen the typical sale price increase by £5,000 in the last month alone, according to data from the property platform Rightmove 

Early statistics back his price rise theory up. According to Rightmove’s latest house price index, which covers the first half of October, the average house price jumped £5,000 compared to the previous month. 

In addition, every UK region broke asking price records for the first time since March 2007.

The property portal noted in its report: ‘The continued fast turnover of property for sale and a window of opportunity to buy before a potential interest rate rise seem to have overcome the final expiry of all stamp duty incentives and are keeping activity robust.’

This trend is keeping the market buoyant for now, but could it really lead to another buying frenzy? Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, says so. 

‘With demand for properties still high, and a potential mortgage rate rise on the horizon, this could be the perfect storm to see another frenzy to buy, so long as the shortage of stock doesn’t continue,’ he says. 

There is also the simple fact that people who were trying to meet the September stamp duty deadline, but failed, are unlikely to abandon their purchases, and will continue to add to the totals over the coming months. 

But others are less sure about talk of another buying boom. With the base rate rise only tipped to be from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent, the difference in people’s mortgage payments may only be a few pounds per month. 

For example, for someone with a £120,000, two-year fixed rate mortgage on a £200,000 home, the difference between a 0.89 per cent rate and a 1.04 per cent rate would be just over £8 a month, or just under £200 across the fixed period. 

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Office for National Statistics data showing house price increases over the past 15 years

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘People will still move without stamp duty holidays and will continue to refinance their homes, whether mortgage rates are below 1 per cent or around 2 per cent.

‘Borrowers are keen to secure these historically-low mortgage rates but if the right property comes along, they are still likely to buy even if they have to pay say 15 basis points more and won’t qualify for a stamp duty holiday.’

But as the stamp duty holiday proved, the psychological impact of thinking you are saving money can be powerful, even when the actual cash saving is negligible. 

While buyers did indeed ‘save’ up to £15,000 in tax, house price rises during the stamp duty holiday were upwards of £20,000, eclipsing the actual saving.   

The true impact that the mooted rise in mortgage rates will have depends on myraid factors, including whether there is further clarity on if and when the base rate change might actually happen, and how mortgage lenders continue to respond to the situation. 

All eyes will be on the October transaction statistics and house price indices to see whether the market is remaining buoyant. 

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