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December dip in UK property sales, but 2022 looking positive

Strong demand from buyers is likely to persist in 2022

Originally posted: 13th December, 2021

2021 has already witnessed the highest number of completed home sales since 2007

The price of property coming to the market in the UK has seen its typical December drop – down by 0.7% (-£2,234) for the month.

These figures are according to Rightmove, which predicts a more ‘normal’ market in 2022.

The latest Rightmove House Price Index suggests that although fully available stock for sale shows a new record low this month, requests for valuations from homeowners are up by 19% from this time a year ago, which would suggest a buoyant market for house sales in the New Year.

Strong demand from buyers is likely to persist in 2022, as figures for November show buyer numbers up by 41% on 2019 and 3% up on a busy 2020.

Highest level of home sales

Rightmove says that 2021 has already witnessed the highest number of completed home sales since 2007, and it expects the number to reach 1.5 million for the full year.

It says that the improved demand-supply balance should suit movers who have been more hesitant and who may have waited to move during this year’s busy housing market.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, Tim Bannister, said: “The kind of frenzied market we’ve seen in the last 18 months happens only a few times in most homeowners’ buying and selling lifetimes, exacerbated by the even rarer event of a global pandemic pushing homes higher up most people’s priorities.”

He added: “While the pandemic is still having an ever-changing impact on society as we head into the New Year, we expect a housing market moving closer to normal during the course of 2022. A return to a less frenetic market due to more choice, and a forecast of slightly higher interest rates, will suit many movers who have held back during the last 18 hectic months.

He added that a rise in interest rates was likely in 2022, and while this was often seen as unhelpful to the housing market, a slowing down of the fast pace of sales, and resulting pace of price rises, may assist the return to more ‘normality’ that many movers would like.

Despite demand being high, buyers will have set limits on what they can afford or are willing to pay, he said.

“In addition, with the availability of stock so low, any property that sticks around stands out like a sore thumb and goes stale pretty quickly. Re-igniting interest in a property that possible buyers have been ignoring as stale and over-priced often takes some bigger price reductions to below what could have been a successful initial asking price”.