Property sales agreed return to pre-pandemic levels – Rightmove

The number of home sales being agreed is now back to its pre-pandemic level for the first time since September, before the mini-budget, according to the latest data from Rightmove.

Sales agreed between sellers and buyers are now just 1% behind March 2019’s levels. The recovery is being driven by sales of flats with agreed sales now 10% above 2019 after being 11% down at the start of the year.

This is most pronounced in London, where agreed sales of flats are now 23% higher than March 2019.

The total number of sales agreed have recovered from being 21% behind 2019’s levels in January.

Overall sales agreed have recovered the most in London and are now 11% higher than March 2019, while sales agreed in the East Midlands are taking longest to catch up and are still 11% below 2019.

Across Great Britain, agreed sales are still 18% below the exceptionally busy market of this time last year.

Average mortgage rates have been edging down this year. The average mortgage rate for a 5-year fixed, 15% deposit mortgage was 4.63% in March, down from 5.89% in October.

Meanwhile the average size of price reduction from first to last listing price is also back to its pre-pandemic level of 6%, which is the equivalent of £22,000 based on the current national average asking price. It had dropped to 5% during the pandemic.

A third of properties see a price reduction, which is up from last year’s 19% during the frenetic market, but in line with the pre-pandemic level of 34%.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: “The market is remaining surprisingly robust given the economic headwinds that have affected movers over the last six months. While the market is by no means at the exceptional level it has been over the last couple of years, it is a positive sign for agents that sales at a national level are being agreed at the same rate as the last more normal market of 2019, though there are regional differences across Great Britain.

“The level and size of reductions has also returned to its pre-pandemic norm, though pricing right the first time can often lead to a quicker sale, so it’s important for sellers to speak to an agent about their local market so that they price realistically and give themselves the best chance of finding a buyer.”

Regional sales agreed picture

Region Sales agreed versus March 2019 Sales agreed versus March 2022
East Midlands -11% -21%
East of England -3% -27%
London +11% -19%
North East +5% -17%
North West -4% -18%
Scotland +2% -1%
South East +2% -23%
South West +0% -14%
Wales -5% -15%
West Midlands -8% -19%
Yorkshire & The Humber -3% -15%

 

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