Buyer registration totals across January and February, compared to the same months in 2018 saw a decrease of 21.5%. Our offices saw an 11.2% increase in properties actively for sale too, meaning a significant swing in supply and demand. What does this mean? Historically, this swing results in buyers viewing more properties before offering. This has come to fruition this year with, on average, a buyer looking at 3.6 more properties before offering than at the start of 2018. When there is more choice for sale it naturally is too tempting for buyers to ‘just look at one more’.
The level of individual cash buyers registered across our offices was identical to last year, in January and February. Due to the decrease in total buyers this meant the percentage of cash buyers registered this year increased to 9.9% of all buyers compared to last year’s 8.4%. What does this mean? Cash buyers help the speed of transactions as there is no mortgage involved. It’s also a good indicator for the average seller because it shows quality in the market and more proceedable viewings.
First time buyers have been the main beneficiaries of the government changes to the market in recent years. Help to Buy interest free deposits, stamp duty reductions and interest rates are three of the key areas targeted to help first time buyers. Although first time buyers are the highest percentage of our registration at 32%, this is a decline on the 33.5% of last year. What does this mean?
First time buyers are great for the market as they are able to tie up the bottom of property chains meaning everyone is able to actively proceed. The change we find in the industry, with first time buyers, is a hesitation to offer because it’s new and therefore some caution is involved. Extra research and words of wisdom from family are normally needed before offering.
First time buyers should always be further categorised, in my opinion, and this is where some estate agents go wrong. To keep it simple there are two types of first time buyers:
1) Mortgage agreed in principle & with a deposit ready and additional moving costs budgeted for to create a maximum search price.
2) The other end of the spectrum: Looked at mortgages online, deposit mixed in with moving costs so incorrectly budgeted and moving to a new area not really knowing the target property they ideally want to purchase.
The difference between the two is why an experienced high street estate agent outsells internet estate agents in every local area through correctly qualifying prior to viewing.
The biggest buyer profile increase this year is buyers pending a sale to proceed. 24% of our total buyers in the first two months need to sell a property. This is up from 22.1% in 2018. What does this mean? For people selling it means an increase in viewers that are unable to proceed viewing their property, which can be frustrating. It’s another reason why you might expect more viewings per offer if your property is on the market. A vital job for the estate agent is to review the location of their sale and what stage the buyer is at, are they on the market? Just gone on the market? Getting viewings? Negotiating offers? These questions are so important and you’re in the hands of the estate agent to deliver.
If you have any more questions regarding the property market or live up to date figures about the local property market feel free to visit us in one of our local estate agency offices.
Written by Ian Macbeth, Managing Director of Residential Sales
Please not these figures are our company stats, not national stats.