It would be an understatement to say that 2021 was a frantic year for the UK housing market. It was a year where demand far outstripped supply, and house prices hit new record highs several times. As a result, many buyers were either forced or made the conscious decision to postpone their home searches until 2022.
If you are planning to buy or move homes this year, property website Rightmove has compiled a list of the key things to expect from the property market. Here is everything you need to know.
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3 things to expect from the property market in 2022
1. A ‘closer to normal’ market
According to Rightmove’s property expert, Tim Bannister, the kind of frenzied market that has characterised the last 18 months is something that happens only a few times in many buyers’ and sellers’ lifetimes. He believes that we could see a ‘closer to normal’ housing market in 2022, albeit still a busy one.
There is some evidence of this already, such as a return to traditional norms that include seasonal fluctuation in house prices. House prices fell in December as many homebuyers postponed their moving plans until after the festive period.
2. A seller’s market
There’s no doubt that 2021 was a seller’s market with high buyer demand but too few available properties for sale. This is likely to continue into 2022, according to Bannister.
That means that if you decide to sell your home this year, your chances of finding a buyer are very high.
That said, it’s still important to set the right asking price for your home. As Tim Bannister explains, buyers will still “have limits to what they can afford or are prepared to pay”. A good local estate agent can help you set the right asking price for your house that will not push prospective buyers away.
3. More properties for buyers to choose from
Last year was characterised by a scarcity of properties for sale. Buyers were forced to compete fiercely for the few available units. This situation could improve in 2022, according to Bannister.
A fresh batch of properties is expected to come onto the market “as ‘new year’s resolution sellers’ look to take advantage of the traditional Boxing Day bounce in buyer demand”.
How to put yourself in the best position to buy a home
The market will still be quite competitive in 2022. Rightmove’s Tim Bannister believes you will therefore need to have “greater buying power than the rest of the field”.
For example, if you are a seller looking to buy again, Rightmove says that the best way to put yourself in a strong position to buy a new home is to first secure a buyer for your current property.
He adds, “Proving your access to funds, including a mortgage agreement in principle, is also becoming a must-have, not only to get higher up the buyer pecking order but also to speed up the process.”
3 more useful tips for buying a home in 2022
1. Research prices and work out what you can afford
Before you start your home search, figure out what you can afford to spend and where you can afford to look. You don’t want to fall in love with a house or neighbourhood that you can’t afford and then end up wasting a lot of time looking for an equivalent home elsewhere that may or may not be available.
2. Be flexible and willing to compromise
Many buyers begin their home searches with a preconceived notion of what type of home they want to live in and where they want to live. However, in today’s market, it’s critical to be prepared to make some compromises when purchasing a home.
Such compromises might range from considering a slightly smaller home than you wanted, a different property type or broadening your search geographically.
3. Identify the best times to buy a home
There are already signs of a return to traditional norms, such as seasonal fluctuations in house prices.
Although the best time to buy will mostly depend on your personal circumstances, monitor the market and speak to estate agents to establish whether there are times of the year when it might be cheaper or easier to buy.
Historically, the best times to buy a house are spring and early autumn.