Rightmove says key market indicator already better than last year

The number of full property details viewed on Rightmove – a key indicator of market health – is already stronger than a year ago.

The portal says this measure indicates serious buyers looking at pictures, descriptions, videos and floorplans; the figure has recovered from a 35 per cent drop as the housing market closed to now being up two per cent on this time last year.

Separately a survey by Rightmove during lockdown found that 94 per cent of first-time buyers were determined to continue with their plans to get on the housing ladder when they were allowed to do so.

This new analysis, based on properties that typically appeal to first-time buyers – those with two bedrooms or fewer – shows the additional amounts first-time buyers may need to save up for or hope to borrow from family, if they need a 15 per cent deposit to comfortably afford the mortgage repayments.

The study of 20 cities in England reveals an average difference of over £12,000 between a 10 per cent and 15 per cent first-time buyer deposit based on the current average asking price of £241,891.

There is a difference of over £58,000 between the biggest and smallest 15 per cent deposits required in cities in England, with the biggest needed in London and the smallest needed in Bradford.

Despite the seven week pause in the market, asking prices of all typical first-timer buyer property currently listed have generally held up, and are two per cent higher in England than this time last year in this sector.

There is currently £60 billion worth of property in this first-time buyer sector on Rightmove, including those that currently have a sale agreed and now hope to continue through the conveyancing process to completion.

In five out of the 20 cities asking prices are slightly cheaper than in 2019.

“Many first-time buyers looking to grab a bargain right now may find they’re disappointed, as on the whole asking prices of all first-time buyer properties up for sale have been holding up. There will of course be some sellers who need to sell quickly and may be willing to negotiate on price so it’s worth asking your local agent if there’s any with this predicament if you do now need to lower your budget. However, where demand is outstripping supply and it’s an attractive property in a desirable location then an offer closer to the asking price will have a better chance of being accepted” says Rightmove’s commercial director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside.

“If a property is over-priced it’s usually pretty obvious by looking at similar properties up for sale on Rightmove in the same area, or by using sold prices to find out how much properties nearby sold for recently, so this should help prospective buyers feel more confident that they know how much they should be offering” he continues.

“If lenders are able to offer more attractive lower deposit mortgages it would help sustain the recovery in activity. If it can be done responsibly, with strict affordability criteria, then a return to more mortgage offers of 90 per cent loan-to-value, or even 95 per cent could make a huge difference to someone having enough money now for a deposit or having to save up for another few years. First-time-buyers will be keeping a close eye on how lenders deals unfold.”