London extends lead as most searched UK site on Rightmove | Immovable

The lockdown dream of leaving the city and owning a spacious country or seaside home has faded in 2022 as buyers pick up where they left off before the pandemic: the search for a house in London.

Rightmove said the capital was by far the top location of 2022 with searches 9% higher than last year. Meanwhile, the number of house searches in Cornwall and Devon has fallen sharply, although the counties, famous for their dramatic coastlines, have clung to second and third spots on the site’s annual most searched list. Real estate website.

During the pandemic, the dramatic shift to working from home has seen many Britons rethink where they want to live. For several months of 2021, Cornwall was more popular than London on the site, despite the city finishing the year in first place overall.

However, in 2022 the mood of buyers has returned to pre-pandemic norms, Rightmove said, while searches for properties in London increased by 9%, for Cornwall and Devon they fell by 18% and 17% respectively.

This means London ended the year with 36% more buyer searches than Cornwall, which is the biggest gap since 2019. In 2021, the gap between the two places was just 3%.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said the tide started to turn towards the end of 2021 and it continued into 2022 when “a lot of our trends in the market started to go back to where they were. in 2019”.

But as memories of the pandemic faded, the cost of living crisis came to the fore. In the rental market, searches for “bills included” rose 57% from the same period last year as tenants worried about soaring energy costs, Rightmove said.

It was the most competitive rental market on record, with a quadrupling of renters inquiring about properties to move into, as there were properties for rent in 2022.

Homes sold fastest in Scotland, where Livingston in West Lothian was the ‘fastest market’ of the year, with homes finding a buyer in 15 days on average. All of the top five regions are in Scotland, with Bo’ness, West Lothian in second place and Larbert, Stirlingshire in third.

Higher borrowing costs, coupled with the forecast recession, mean that storm clouds are gathering over the UK property market after several years of some of the steepest house price increases on record .

The general opinion of property experts is that prices will fall in 2023, but there is no agreement on how much. Forecasters have been wrong on this before, but this time around certain factors, such as the recent spike in borrowing costs, are increasing the likelihood of a downturn.

The Bank of England has raised interest rates steadily over the past year, from a record high of 0.1% to 3.5% at this month’s meeting – with news expected increases. There was evidence of a weakening housing market, with the number of home purchases falling to less than 60,000 a month, the lowest since 2013, he said.

While the Halifax believes rising mortgage costs coupled with cost-of-living pressures will drive house prices down by around 8% in 2023, in a report in Nationwide on Tuesday, it argues that a “landing in sweetness”, with prices down about 5%, is possible.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said “risks are skewed to the downside, but there’s still a good chance we can achieve a relatively soft landing next year with activity stabilizing slightly below pre-pandemic levels and house prices down, perhaps around 5%.”

“The Bank of England is likely to raise interest rates a bit more, although in recent years most borrowers have opted for fixed rate mortgages linked to longer term interest rates which may have -have already peaked If this is the case, this will help support affordability, as will strong gains in nominal income growth and the slight decline in house prices.

Rightmove still predicts the traditional Boxing Day bounce when shoppers log on to Rightmove after spending Christmas with friends and family.

“We’re hearing from agents that they’re preparing properties for sale to go live on Boxing Day,” Bannister said. “We’ve seen a group of people use the last few months to assess their options and consider what they can afford, and they could get a boost next year if fixed rate mortgages come down as expected.”

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