I've been describing the market for a while now as being a bit like a coiled spring.
What we've seen in the last 18 months or so the majority of people wanting to move have been waiting to see how the market reacts to a changing political environment. We've flogged the 'B' word to death and to some extent the fear and uncertaincy has been so widely (and constantly) reported that it became a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So many have kept their lives on hold.
One thing I am certain about is that those 'wait and see watchers' are starting to wake up and become active.
January always sees a post Christmas bounce and this year is no different. Many believe that EASTER is the peak time for activity in the housing market and they are right - to some extent. What we see at grass roots level is the planning process start much earlier and it is the lead up to the Easter break where individual plans start to become reality. If you're looking to move around this time of year you could do worse than have your property available now for all those eyes entering the market as we lead up to our seasonally busiest time of year.
We've seen valuations up significantly and, more tellingly, footfall significantly increase through the doors of our properties listed for sale. With that comes a significant rise in offers and sales being agreed and it looks like our performance is not isolated in the broader context of the National housing market.
Rightmove (love them or loathe them) have released a press bulletin yesterday quantifying a surge in online 'property browsing' and 'new sales listing' activity in January 2020. In fact, it has been a record breaking month with their property portal seeing a staggering 150 Million visits. This is the busiest month they have EVER recorded.
Thinking of making a move in the market? Well, it appears you are not alone!
This record breaking figure is a healthy 9% up from January 2019. Home-movers are springing (pardon the pun) into action as they now look to take advantage of a more settled and optimistic outlook. In my view uncertainty was priced in during 2019 and with volumes of sales picking up significantly it feels like we are setting the tone for a busy year ahead.
Another indicator of interest is that sales agreed are up 12% nationally and this is the biggest year on year jump in any month since July 2017 - As you would expect London is up 26% and this is so critical as London money drives many more local markets to us. The stream of relocations from london to Essex and Suffolk has always been prevailant throughout my career and local our market performance is intrinsically dependent on it. East Anglia is also up by 20% immediately beneffiting from the 'coiled spring effect'.
What I expect to see leading through to Spring is a new-wave of sellers entering into the market which should balance this uplift in demand. We still have a long way to go to call a market boom but the signs are there that we're approaching the end of a difficult cycle and entering into a prosperous one.