U.K. home sales delayed amid market congestion

More buyers are looking to upgrade their living spaces across the U.K., which has driven up asking prices of multiple-bedroom homes in the period between Aug. 20 to Sept. 20, congesting the sales progress, according to Rightmove PLC.

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The U.K property website said Monday that it estimates there are nearly 40% more sales currently going through the buying and selling process compared with this time in the prior year.

Moreover, the price of properties coming to market have risen 0.2% in the period, with the second-stepper sector–people who live in and own their first home and are looking to upgrade–of three or four-bedroom homes hitting new records of 291,618 pounds ($377,398).

The principal drive behind the price increase has been buyers looking to increase their living space, including buyers who are looking to upgrade with extra space for their families and, uniquely to the pandemic period, for those looking for room to work from home, Rightmove said.

“Needing more space has always been the most popular reason for moving house, but now there’s a new urgency for extra space to be able to work from home, which means that there are different sets of buyers competing for the same type of property,” Rightmove Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said.

In particular, regions outside the South of England have seen the most significant increases in home prices, with Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, North East, North West and Scotland all recording new records, the company said.

However, on a national level, sales agreed for the whole year to date are down 5% compared with the same period in 2019, with Scotland and Wales seeing the biggest declines of 21% and 16% respectively as their later re-opening from lockdown sees them lag behind.

Sales have been the strongest in the “top of the ladder” sector, which includes four bedroom detached homes and larger, according to Rightmove. In this category, sales agreed more than doubled in August compared with the same period last year. Second-stepper sales were up by 55%, comparatively.

According to Rightmove’s analysis, the increase in home sales have led to agents reporting that they’ve seen delays and longer completion times than normal.

Write to Adriano Marchese at [email protected]

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