Housing Report, January 2021

Stamp Duty holiday continues to encourage house hunters as demand increases by two fifths

Key Findings:

  • Number of prospective buyers rose by 40 per cent in January and supply of properties also increased
  • Record number of sales taking more than 17 weeks from offer to exchange of contracts
  • The average number of sales agreed reached the highest amount for the month of January since 2007

Demand for housing

  • In January, the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch stood at 487, a 40 per cent rise from 348 in December.
  • Year-on-year, this is a 27 per cent increase from 382 in January 2020.

Time taken from offer to exchange

  • In January, a record number of property transactions (26 per cent) took over 17 weeks from the offer being accepted to exchanging contracts.

Sales agreed

  • The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 10 in January, an increase from eight in December.
  • This is the highest figure recorded for the month of January since 2007, when an average of 13 sales were agreed per branch.

Sales to FTBs

  • The number of sales made to FTBs remained the same at 23 per cent in January.
  • Year-on-year, this is a decrease of six percentage points from 29 per cent in January 2020.

Supply of available properties

  • The number of properties available per member branch stood at 38 in January, rising from 33 in December.

What properties sold for

  • In January, nine per cent of properties sold for more than the original asking price.
  • This is a rise from December when only five per cent of properties sold for more than asking price.
  • The majority (62 per cent) of properties sold for less than the original asking price

Quote mark

The number of house hunters hitting the market in January shows the stamp duty cut has continued to encourage buyers. However, with an average of 13 house hunters for every property on the market, there is simply not the supply to meet this level of demand.

Separately, a record number of transactions are taking nearly four months to complete, and with the stamp duty holiday deadline looming, it’s likely we’ll see an increase in the number of failed sales as buyers pull out as they’re unable to complete in time. We are increasingly concerned about the pressure the 31 March cliff-edge is putting on the property industry, and we continue to call on Government to rethink these timings so pressure on the system can be released to avoid a disorderly and distressing period for movers and businesses throughout the market.

mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
Chief Policy Advisor