Signs of a bumper season for agents – with happy buyers and sellers

Early indications are that estate agents have enjoyed an extraordinary bumper festive period – more than repaying those who kept their doors open, perhaps longer than they had anticipated.

Noticeably, Twitter has been lively with agents reporting deals and also advertising for new staff, while national conveyancing firm myhomemove told Eye that in the period December 25 to 31 it was extremely – and astonishingly – busy.

It received 208% more instructions from sellers and 155% more from buyers than in the same period in 2013.

Myhomemove sales director Stephen Hayter said that agents instruct the vast majority of new instructions on behalf of purchasers just as soon as the sale is agreed.

He said agents would not have waited for some post-Christmas “admin” time to put through conveyancing instructions for deals done before December 25.

Hayter said: “No matter what time of the year, I believe agents will be instructing cases as soon as they can.”

Unlike buyers’ conveyancing instructions, most sellers’ instructions are made when they first put their property on the market.

Hayter said: “By way of example, our first sale instruction on December 17 was from a client who confirmed they wanted us to act on October 14. This suggests it took them just over two months to find a buyer.

“Last Friday (Jan 2), we were finally instructed on a sale which we quoted and set up on January 14, 2014, so that property took just about a year to sell.”

The huge uplift in conveyancing instructions between Christmas Day and New Year suggests that buyers were out in force, and that sellers were happily accepting offers.

Judging by Twitter activity, last Friday and right over the weekend were also buzzing for agents.

Hayter said that the Stamp Duty Land Tax reforms announced last month will have been seen by buyers very positively.

He said: “It was fantastic to see so many who had made savings of between £1,000-£2,000 as I believe most of these will have been first-time movers (not first-time buyers) and every penny counts when you make that move from your first purchase.

“Going forwards, the market tends to fill a vacuum very quickly, and there will be some early price adjustments around the thresholds.

“I have heard of some properties that were previously £249,000 being withdrawn from the market, probably to re-emerge at circa £270,000 some time soon.”

Hayter said that one clear trend over the last year is the length of time it is taking for mortgages to be offered – 54 days, compared to 47 in 2013. He said this was probably the result of last April’s Mortgage Market Review, but said that the longer times were concerning, as they allowed for the possibility of more fall-throughs.

Myhomemove has taken on over 170 new staff since February 2013 and now employs nearly 700 at its Leicester headquarters and its newer Manchester offices. The firm is involved in one in 20 transactions across the UK.


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