It feels like we waited decades for the London 2012 Games to arrive and in a blink of an eye, it was all over. However, the UK continues to ride the Olympic high as we celebrate an unforgettable Games and it would appear the global event affected every corner of the country, including the housing market.
According to UK property portal, Rightmove (20/08/2012), the Games had quite an effect on asking prices, reporting the largest monthly fall (2.4%) it has ever recorded for the month of August. Traditionally, summer sellers often set low asking prices anyway, but -2.4% is quite a dip and one that Rightmove attribute to the London Games, stating that the summer event distracted buyers. In turn, this meant that sellers had to position their properties at an even more competitive rate.
Interestingly, Rightmove also found a direct correlation between Olympic events and activity on their website. So when British athletes were scheduled to compete in a final or semi-final event, the number of visitors to Rightmove.com halved! There were also notable dips in property searches during the opening and closing ceremonies and – of course – when the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt entered the arena.
Generally speaking, the current property market appears to be relatively stable, with UK institutions, Halifax (06/09/2012) and Nationwide Building Society (31/08/2012), valuing the average property between £160,256 and £164,729. Although property prices remain relatively low (thumbs up for buyers) the mortgage market continues to be the biggest hurdle (thumbs down for buyers). A recent survey published by Cartus’ Home Sale Network estate agents (19/09/2012) also found that a lack of mortgage availability was the biggest influence in preventing more buyers from entering the market.
As a knock-on effect from the current mortgage market, people are deciding to rent instead, because they can’t afford to get a mortgage loan. As more people move away from home ownership, tenants’ specifications are evolving in that they require a tenancy that is longer term and therefore, more stable. Indeed, the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (27/07/2012) reported that the average length of tenancy recently hit a record high of 20 months.
Top Tip. As the imbalance between supply and demand continues in the housing market, sellers need to be competitive to attract those much-sought-after buyers. At Cartus, we encourage our relocating employees to set a realistic asking price from the moment the sale board arrives!