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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Housing market strength proves itself once again

The UK housing market is in growth mode as the recovery gathers pace, the latest figures show. 

According to Rightmove, the post-lockdown mini-boom has accelerated rather than slowed down, with property sales agreed over the past month hitting a record high of more than £37bn. 

With buyers ignoring the usual summer holiday slowdown, the property website reports that the latest weekly sales agreed figure is up by 60% compared to the corresponding week last year. 

Russell Quirk, property expert at MovingHomeAdvice.com, said: “This explosion of activity is not just a consequence of the fuel of stamp-duty-respite but a market that has proven time and again that it is robust even in the most challenging of circumstances. 

“You can apparently throw Brexit, political turmoil, a couple of general elections and a once in a century pandemic at it yet it still marches on. Like the proverbial cockroach, no matter what you do to kill it, it simply will not die.”

Property transactions have soared thanks to sharp rise in both demand and supply, according to Marc von Grundherr, director of London-based estate agency Benham and Reeves. 

He said: “Sales are at unprecedented levels and listings too and so we’re seeing both sides of the property market boiling. This will be partly why the index is showing that asking prices are actually stable currently as there is a seeming harmonious balance between buy-side and sell-side.

“But the ‘nothing to see here’ of price inaction is completely circumvented by the enormous spike in deals being done because, for agents, the transactional volume is more important than price and for now at least property firms are revelling in their new-found breathlessness as they attempt to keep up with both supply and demand. It’s like the late 80’s all over again.” 

Buried in Rightmove's data today is an anomaly, one that is historically reserved for London and the south east, according to James Forrester of Birmingham-based Barrows and Forrester. 

He commented: “That anomaly is that annual asking prices for homes in the West Midlands are increasing more than anywhere else in the UK, up 6.3% since August 2019. And they’re selling quicker than almost anywhere else too.

“I’m not quite suggesting that the West Midlands is going to overtake the capital however, with annual growth in prices at three times that of London and the South East, it’s certainly evident that we are catching up.”

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