There’s been a spectacular surge in demand for lettings properties as vendors take advantage of the stamp duty holiday by selling up and renting ahead of their next purchase.
Rightmove says 21 per cent of the available properties it lists for sale are now chain-free, a jump from around 15 per cent this time last year. This new trend is most acute in London, where 12 per cent of listed properties for sale this time last year were chain free, whereas it’s 21 per cent today.
Nationally, rental demand to the portal was 41 per cent higher in February than in the same month last year, and in the same month the number of buyers searching for ‘no chain’ in Rightmove’s keyword sort tool was 72 per cent higher than in February 2020.
Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister says: “The flexibility of renting gives people the chance to ‘try before you buy’ in a new area and so those who have chosen to move to the countryside may be selling their house chain-free to then rent and take time to decide if the good life is definitely for them.
“Selling chain-free is perhaps something some owners hadn’t considered as a possibility before now, but with the competitive market and stock shortage we currently have they’re trying to put themselves in a more attractive position when their dream home comes along. In the capital there are also some landlords who are selling up now, which could open up an opportunity for some first-time buyers looking for their first home.”
The portal says that the strongest sellers’ market in a decade means that currently almost two out of three properties on an agents’ books are sold subject to contract. There are signs however that new listings have been starting to improve over the past few weeks.
The trend appears to be confirmed by Oliver Custance Baker of Strutt & Parker’s Exeter office, who says: "This is definitely something that we've seen particularly as current stock levels aren't quite meeting levels of buyer demand. In the Tiverton area we have numerous buyers who are sitting in rented accommodation, not only so they can try out the area and the lifestyle on offer, but to make sure that they're first in the door when something that ticks their required boxes comes onto the market."