A new record has been set on Rightmove, with more than 9.1 million visits in one day – an average of almost 6,320 visits every minute.
With the Stamp Duty holiday extended to the end of June and the exodus from cities continuing apace, the website has seen unprecedented activity.
The spring selling season has started at a level not seen in a decade, with the highest number of sales being agreed on 23 March than at any time in the past 10 years, according to the portal.
New sellers have also sprung into action, with the highest daily number of new properties going on the market so far this year.
Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: “The promise of better weather on the way as we move in to spring, hopefully an easing of restrictions, and kids now back in school have all helped boost listing numbers. Agents are reporting a frenzy of activity in some areas, with multiple offers from buyers at asking price and above.
“Record numbers of home buyers are also visiting our site as many of us search for more room for working from home or a property with some outside space or a garden.”
Number of buyers ‘doubled’
One agent in Saffron Walden reported how they arranged 18 viewings within 24 hours of a £1.2m property going on the market. Cheffins’ director Bruce King said the number of London buyers looking to move to the Essex market town had more than doubled since this time last year.
“The past few months has been one of the busiest markets we have seen in years as the combination of lockdown, the stamp duty holiday and the 5% mortgage scheme has created the perfect conditions for buyers to look to move house. We have seen bidding wars on multiple properties,” he said.
Rightmove believes it has also seen signs of more home-owners selling up and moving into rental properties, so they are in a stronger buying position to buy.
Jump in chain-free homes
Compared with last year there has been an increase from 15% to 21% in the proportion of available properties up for sale on Rightmove that are chain-free.
The shift is most marked in London, where the percentage of chain-free homes has jumped from 12% this time last year to 21% now.
Vendors may also be taking advantage of securing the best price for their home while the stamp duty holiday is in place as an incentive for their buyers, and others who have chosen to move out of a city may be planning to rent first to make sure country life is definitely for them, says Rightmove’s Bannister.
“The flexibility of renting gives people the chance to ‘try before you buy’ in a new area, so those who have chosen to move to the countryside may be selling their house chain-free to then rent and take time to decide if the good life is definitely for them,” he said.
“Selling chain-free is perhaps something some owners hadn’t considered as a possibility before now, but with the competitive market and stock shortage we currently have they’re trying to put themselves in a more attractive position when their dream home comes along.
“In the Capital there are also some landlords who are selling up now, which could open up an opportunity for some first-time buyers looking for their first home.”