House prices softening

7 Feb 2021

This week in five seconds

  • House prices softening with Halifax, Nationwide and average price under offer declining in January into February
  • Consideration being given to adjusting the cut-off point for the stamp duty holiday to those “substantially [completed]”
  • More transactions falling through
  • Mortgage offers coming in faster
  • Movewise Referral Guide and Outsource Guide for probate solicitors

House prices softening

House prices declined in January 2021, -0.3% month-on-month, with Halifax and Nationwide warning of signs the property market is likely to cool. Both of these indices are based on mortgage transaction data. Movewise has analysed average prices of properties going under offer on the property portals and these suggest last advertised prices before going under offer are also weaker, likely a leading indicator of what is to come.

Consideration being given for substantially completed property transactions to retain the stamp duty holiday

MPs met on Monday 1st February to debate an extension of the stamp duty. A large number of MPs spoke out and some expressed demand for an extension. However the government pursued its usual convention of not making formal tax announcements outside of the Budget or similar 'events' meaning that no view was given by Jesse Norman MP, the Treasury minister who wound up the debate for the government. However Mr Norman did comment that they would consider ‘substantial performance’ as well as ‘completion’ when looking at what to do about the holiday.

Fall through rate rising on transactions

Agents are reporting a higher than usual fall through rate as buyers realise they may not be able to complete their purchase before the deadline and are therefore having to either renegotiate on price or alter their search criteria to a different price range. This is despite a busy January which saw 5% more sales agreed than in January 2020 (Rightmove).

If you are selling your property and are already under offer, ensure that your solicitor has everything they need to transact quickly and that they and your agent are pushing the sale forward on a regular basis.

Mortgage offers coming through faster

For motivated buyers, the good news this week is that lenders appear to be issuing mortgage offers in a far more efficient time period than we were seeing prior to Christmas. Most are coming through within a week, a huge improvement on the 6-7 weeks we were seeing in some cases last year. This is due to lenders being far less under pressure with numbers of applications declining as the possibility of completing a sale prior to the end of March is all but lost.

If you are looking to buy a property and are wanting to take advantage of lenders who are working on a quick turnaround make sure you have a knowledgeable broker working with you who has access to lenders across the whole market.

Movewise for probate solicitors

We released two guides this week for probate solicitors.

Referral Guide: This guide details the benefits of referring Movewise to executors. Whilst the executor will get a superior transaction result, a key benefit for the solicitor is they will get better visibility and control of the transaction as a single account manager at Movewise will be coordinating all of your different executors transactions, ensuring they close faster and your clients get high quality advice.

Outsourcing Guide: This second guide discusses the benefits of outsourcing the property sale management to Movewise. For solicitors who are the executor on a transaction, a key benefit is the substantial time saving at no cost to the solicitor, allowing them to focus on higher value work.

We will shortly be making a downloadable e-book on each. 

Movewise in the news

3 Feb, Mirror, Desperate house buyers race to finalise deals

Have a great Sunday evening.

The Movewise Team

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