We’re fast approaching the end of the year; a year in which the UK housing market has gone bananas in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. House prices are still rising and demand is still as strong as ever. And as December approaches, demand is destined to get even stronger as a new wave of potential buyers enter the market, namely those who want to be in a new home by Christmas.
This is a common seasonal trend as many of us dream about spending the next Christmas day in a brand new home, full of family and friends who would never be able to squeeze into our current home! But is this a realistic dream in 2021? Is there still time to move by Christmas?
The first thing to consider is whether or not it’s a good idea to push for a pre-Xmas move. This would, of course, require a pre-Christmas purchase at a time when prices are incredibly high, some might say ‘inflated’.
So the question needs to be, are prices likely to come down soon after Christmas, thus making it worth your while to wait? Sadly, the answer is no, prices are not likely to fall soon after Christmas. In fact, they’re unlikely to fall until at least June.
This is partly because of the additional demand we’re still seeing from the COVID-19 inspired market boom. Many thought it demand would decline when the stamp duty holiday came to an end, but this has not been the case. It seems the pandemic has truly altered our lifestyle ambitions and thus inspired us to start fresh in a new, more suitable home. But the main reason that prices won’t fall before Summer is that, as already mentioned, the housing market is seasonal.
Demand and market activity rise up and down with the seasons. This means prices do the same. September, October and November (autumn) are always busy months of the year. Demand is always high before Christmas, but by the time winter arrives, demand and prices get even higher. Then, with the arrival of Spring, demand increases once more. It’s only in summer that demand and therefore prices tend to dip before perking up again as autumn comes back around.
In short, this means prices are very unlikely to fall before June 2022. So, if moving home is something you’re determined to do, or required to do, before next summer, there is very little point in waiting until after Christmas because prices may get even higher.
If you’re dreaming of spending Christmas in a new home, don’t let today’s prices put you off.
It’s well-reported that there is a profound lack of stock on today’s housing market. As demand has increased, stock levels have remained largely unchanged which means buyer are now having to compete with each other like never before. Houses are selling for far more than their asking price and are barely arriving on the market before they’re snapped up.
All of this is fabulous news for sellers, but difficult news for buyers. To move before Christmas, you’re probably going to have to deal with a lot of competition, people who might have a bigger budget than you, or can move faster than you, or are able to pay in cash rather than a mortgage.
If you’re decisive and well prepared (get a mortgage pre-approved, for example), you might be able to beat the competition by moving very quickly, but when such large sums of money are at play, it can be tricky to rush.
As with prices, stock levels are unlikely to improve in the near future. While plenty of new homes are under construction, even more promised to start soon, most of them will be located in urban areas and most will be flats. If this doesn’t suit your tastes or needs, you’re not going to see your choices increase any time soon.
Nothing is impossible, and there are plenty of homes listed on the portals for you to consider, but you must be aware of what awaits. And if you do find yourself in a fight for a property, be cautious that you don’t end up pushing our budget beyond your means.
In short, while demand is high and availability low, this isn’t going to change any time soon. So, if moving is something you’re determined to do within the next 12 months, don’t let today’s market demand put you off.
In order to move before Christmas, you’re going to need to start the buying process sooner rather than later. While the average of time it takes to complete a purchase varies greatly depending on your agent, your location, and so on, the busier the market is, the longer it tends to take to get your keys.
This means that timelines today are slightly extended compared to what we’d normally expect. But it’s all about preparation and swift action. Make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage before putting in an offer. Be sure to execute any surveys as soon as is possible, and don’t be afraid to pester your estate agent to move quickly. It’s what they’re paid to do.