Buy-to-let ignites chain reaction, driving prices to record high

Rightmove HPI

 

  • Average price of property coming to market up by 1.3% (+£3,843) to set a record high of £307,033

  • Rush from investors to buy before April 1st helped to ignite an onward chain reaction:

    • Stamp duty deadline gave early impetus to bottom of the market and had knock-on effect of energising the higher sectors of the market

    • This month’s rise is driven by second-stepper and top of the ladder sectors, while smaller properties in first-time buyer/buy-to-let sector see monthly price drop of 1.4%



  • While buy-to-let momentum at the bottom of the market has now dropped away, demand remains high with record visits on Rightmove in March; will first-time buyers take this opportunity to fill the void?


Overview

The average price of property coming to market is at another all-time high, up by £3,843 to a new record of £307,033. The Chancellor’s autumn statement and announcement of the April buy-to-let stamp duty deadline created momentum which gave early impetus to the bottom of the market. It has also had the knock-on effect of energising the higher sectors of the market. This has contributed to April’s monthly rise of 1.3% being driven by growth in the second-stepper and top of the ladder sectors of the market, with the lower end of the market reporting a fall.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “The onset of spring is traditionally when the housing market swings into full-on action, and while the early Easter this year could be credited with its very active current state, the housing market actually received a much earlier kick-start at the end of November. Chains need a buyer at the bottom to enable everyone to move, and that was boosted by investors looking to avoid the 3% levy introduced on April 1st.”

While demand from some buy-to-let landlords has dropped away, Rightmove recorded its busiest ever month for visits to the website in March. It is likely that appetite from investors will return for the right property at the right price and yield, but in the meantime it gives first-time buyers an opportunity to fill the void with less competition from typically faster-moving cash-rich landlords.
Shipside notes: There’s a whole army of aspiring first-time buyers keen to get on the ladder and they now have a 3% price advantage over the formerly more agile legion of landlords, some of whom have retreated for the time being. First-time buyers could fill some of the gap but sellers of properties with two bedrooms or fewer need to realise that with less overall demand they need to price cheaper to match first-time buyers and highly-taxed investors.”
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