Are you sick of looking at the same houses on Rightmove? However many times you swipe, it’s the same properties that just keep coming up. The redbrick cottage you like but the family bathroom is on the ground floor or the semi that needs more work that you can’t afford and which has refused to reduce its asking price despite a year on the portals. Then in the queue for the coffee shop or at the school gates someone mentions three houses have sold on their street, none of which even made it to Rightmove. How did this happen? Will you ever be able to find a house you want to live in at a reasonable price in the location you need in 2022?
It’s crunch time for the British property market. Supply numbers are at record lows after a perfect storm of market factors: Covid, lockdowns, “the race for space”, a stamp-duty holiday and the rise in staycations. Spring is traditionally peak season on the property calendar and this year estate agents are hoping for a selling bonanza to end the property drought.
“I think there will be a tsunami of homes coming to the market,” says Paul Clarke, founder of the boutique agency Mr and Mrs Clarke. “We have 20-plus properties across the UK where we have already prepared the marketing and are ready to launch after half-term. People have been waiting and waiting over winter. There was so much uncertainty with Omicron. Now people are starting to move around again. Clients have asked us to ‘press go’ in March.”
Harriet Sinclair-Wilson has decided now is the time to take the plunge. She is about to launch her three-bedroom house in the centre of Leamington Spa for £550,000 with Mr and Mrs Clarke. “My husband and I thought about putting it on last spring but I’d just had a baby and we couldn’t find anything to buy — we’re looking for a four-bedroom house with a garden,” says Sinclair-Wilson, owner of Fable Interiors. “House prices are pretty good now so we figure it’s a good time to sell. And in the last two weeks it feels like more stuff is coming on the market. But we’re also finding a lot of estate agents won’t let you see anything unless you are proceedable. So we’ve got to put our own property on the market if we want to move forward.”