Six months on from the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday, the residential property market appears to be extremely buoyant. House prices have risen at the fastest rate for many years.

Although average house prices started to grow slowly at the beginning of January, they grew nonetheless and may continue to grow for the foreseeable future. With the cost of living also increasing, there is no certainty about which way they may go, but some lenders predict that the growth will slow over the next year. Many buyers are eager to move to a new home, but with a lack of suitable properties on the market up and down the country, some property transactions are beginning to stall.

The majority of sales in Cheshire during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £248,884. Detached properties sold for an average of £455,643, with terraced properties fetching £195,614. According to Rightmove, Overall sold prices in Cheshire over the last year were 5% up on the previous year and 15% up on the 2019 level of £259,743.

Homes are getting snapped up by buyers

At Myerson, we have heard of properties selling in under 15 minutes of them going onto the market. With the demand for new properties to the market being so high, estate agents are holding limited viewings, in most cases only allowing people to view those who have a mortgage in principle, have their current property on the market or, in some cases, have already agreed on a sale on their property. We are hearing from our clients and estate agents that many properties are going to best and final offers, and, as always, cash buyers who are chain free are in a strong position. Buyers who are chain free are desirable to sellers when accepting offers on properties so that they can try to eliminate the inherent risks of chains and, in particular, the chain collapsing.

The Housing Market: Is Now a Good Time to Buy?

Is the housing market in short supply?

Those looking to upsize at the higher end of the market are finding housing stock in short supply in certain areas across the country. This is compounded by intending sellers delaying in putting their property on the market until they have found a suitable property to buy. This is an understandable situation as, with so much uncertainty, it might feel like a big commitment to start the house selling process without having first found your dream home.

Supply is so short that we have seen estate agents and intending buyers pleading for properties of all sizes and in all price bands on social media, and estate agents are also doing letter drops in certain areas requesting properties for sale.

How do you manage a property chain?

We have seen a few examples of chains of transactions breaking where the top of the chain has not been able to secure a suitable property to purchase. This has caused delays and doubts to those further down the chain. The dilemma that buyers and sellers are facing is whether to pull out of their purchase and find a new property to buy where the parties in the new chain might be in a better position or to wait for an indefinite amount of time for the top of the current chain to find their dream home. When there are many parties involved, this can undoubtedly cause problems and stresses throughout the chain right down to the first-time buyer at the bottom, as all those involved will be affected.

To help get around the uncertainty and delay, whether that be because the party concerned is being helpful or because they succumb to pressures from the chain, a party in the chain will “break the chain” so that all of those who can proceed can do so and the party who “breaks the chain” will complete their sale ahead of their purchase. Your solicitor can advise you further and give you the support detailing your options.

Consider moving into short term accommodation 

Parties who break a chain may offer to move into rented accommodation or live with friends or family to ensure that they can sell their home to a willing and ready buyer whilst holding on to the property they hope to buy. However, this is a risky move as you could find yourself in a position where effectively you become “homeless”, and unless contracts have been exchanged on your intended purchase, there is no guarantee that the purchase will proceed. If you have a young family in tow or are relocating to a different part of the country, this option may not be possible.

Here to help

Moving home can be a worrying and stressful time and it is often quoted as being one of the most stressful events you can go through. If you have any more questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with our Residential Property Team who are there to support you every step of the way.

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