Release of pent-up demand leads to busiest ever day as more home-movers enter market

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  • Rightmove records busiest ever day on Wednesday 27th May, surpassing six million visits for the first time and up 18% on the same Wednesday in May last year
  • Search is turning into action with record levels of people phoning and emailing estate agents through Rightmove, also up 18% on the same day last year
  • Over a quarter of people (28%) who were not planning a move before lockdown are now entering the market1
  • The number of sales being agreed by agents is slowly starting to pick up but will take time, now 47% down on last year, an improvement on the 90% down when the market paused
  • Coastal areas of Cornwall, Devon and Bournemouth are seeing the biggest jump in buyer interest, plus Northern locations of Warrington, Manchester and Wigan2

Home-mover momentum has been building over the two weeks since the housing market reopened in England, leading to a number of records on Rightmove.

 

Both the number of visits to Rightmove and the amount of time people are spending on the site have hit new highs over the past week. Wednesday 27th May saw visits exceed six million in a day for the first time, which is up 18% on Wednesday 29th May last year. The busiest day for time spent on Rightmove was Saturday 23rd May with over 47 million minutes spent collectively.

 

A new survey from Rightmove has found a new wave of buyers now entering the market since before lockdown. Of those who had no plans to move earlier in the year, over a quarter of them (28%) are now saying they are planning to move.

 

Rightmove’s Commercial Director and Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside comments: “Usually we record our busiest days of the year in January and February and almost never when there is warm weather, so the combination of pent-up demand being released, new people entering the market and no half-term holidays during lockdown has led to this late spring boost. The challenge agents are facing is handling this surge in enquiries, having a process to deliver virtual viewings, and setting up socially distanced and safe physical viewings. This means that although numbers of sales agreed have improved from being down 90% to currently being 47% down compared to this time last year, it’s going to take a considerable time for a return to sales agreed levels seen last year and at the start of this year.”

 

The areas with strongest interest from buyers compared to last year, measured by the number of property details being viewed on Rightmove including floorplans, pictures and videos, include places along the south coast and northern towns and cities. The biggest changes compared to last year are in the CT postcode area of Canterbury, followed by the TR postcode which makes up around half of the places in Cornwall, and Bournemouth.

 

Shipside says: “Areas with beautiful scenery and a potentially quieter life are proving to be popular as home-movers’ priorities start to shift and outside space becomes more important. There are also those considering a move further out now that they’ve realised they can work out of the office and may be finding they can get more for their money in some of the South West and Northern locations.” 

 

Postcode area Annual change in buyer interest
Canterbury – CT 23%
Truro – TR 20%
Bournemouth – BH 17%
Stoke-on-Trent – ST 17%
Rochester – ME 16%
Wolverhampton – WV 15%
Dorchester – DT 15%
Warrington – WA 14%
Manchester – M 13%
Northampton – NN 13%
Plymouth – PL 12%
Stevenage – SG 12%
Bromley – BR 12%
Torquay – TQ 11%
Wigan – WN 11%

 

Agents’ Views

 

Blair Stewart, Consultant at Strutt & Parker in South Hams, says: “The last two weeks have been incredibly busy – it’s crazy. From £300k up to £3m plus, the interest in the South West is off the charts. Much interest has been from London but we’ve also had interest from Yorkshire and further afield with interested parties even chartering helicopters to make socially distanced viewing possible. The interest has extended from second hand homes to empty plots; with some buyers looking to build their own house with a view to relocating their business from the city to the South West as many take stock of their work-life balance. Good wifi and good connectivity is all you need, and for what used to be the bane of the South West, broadband quality is now up there with the best. People are valuing the time they’ve spent with family and their children. When you look at the travel restrictions that are likely to be in place for the months ahead, people looking at purchasing abroad have realigned their aspirations to the UK thanks to the climate the South West benefits from, the availability of pristine coastline and the calibre of properties on offer. Prime resorts in Cornwall have seen a spike in holiday home interest.”

 

Andrew McKnight, Owner of MAP Estate Agents in Cornwall, said: “We’ve brought all of our staff back to manage the demand we’ve been seeing over the past two weeks. It’s taking longer for viewings now to make sure we’re following the correct social distancing measures so this is adding to how busy we are. We launched a fixer-upper cottage last week and had 40 viewings and 14 offers on it, with it going for over the asking price this week, and we’ve had multiple offers on other properties as well, which has taken us by surprise. I’ve been speaking to a few people who are considering moving further out of cities now that they can work from home more often, so we’ll have to wait to see if this is a short-term trend or a start of a change in buyer behaviour.”

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