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Moving home: what can we expect in 2022?

Moving home: what can we expect in 2022?


Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Will 2022 be your year to move? Whether you’re just starting to search for your new home, or you’ve been looking for a while, the good news we’re already starting to see more available properties for you to choose from. In fact, we saw the highest number of new sellers that we have ever recorded on Boxing Day on Rightmove.

So, with a huge number of home-hunters looking to move this year, what can we expect from the 2022 housing market? Some trends in the property market have changed for the long-term, while other changes are already reverting back to what we were seeing before the first lockdown period. Take a look.

There will be more homes for buyers to choose from
Buyers will already be starting to see fresh opportunities. Seller numbers were up by 21% compared to Boxing Day the year before, as homeowners looking to move decided to take advantage of the post-Christmas buyer surge.

“This group of sellers may have held back last year due to the frantic market, but are now seeing it as their time to take action and have taken advantage of the high number of prospective buyers searching for their next home over the holidays,” said our property expert Tim Bannister.

Prospective sellers jumped into action on 30th December, which was the busiest day since May 2021 for people requesting estate agents to come out and value their home. It was also one of the top ten busiest ever days for these valuation requests on Rightmove.

Buyer demand has also remained high, especially between Boxing Day and coming into the new year, so the 2022 housing market will continue to be competitive. If you see a property that could be the one for you, we recommend getting in touch with a local estate agent to book a viewing as soon as you spot it.

Average asking prices will rise in 2022
We predict that the national asking price of a home – which is currently £342,401 – will rise by 5% this year, which will mean an increase of about £17,000. This is because we’re still seeing a huge number of home-hunters looking to move, and not enough homes available to buy, so the imbalance continues to push prices up.

As always, there will be variations to this across Britain. Currently the most competitive locations for buyers are in Scotland, the West Midlands, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber. Our forecast shows these areas are likely to see price growth of 7% or more.

Prices haven’t risen as much as they have in the rest of the country, and buyer demand is not as strong, so we forecast slightly lower price growth of 3% in the capital.

Buyer search areas have expanded — by the size of Manhattan
People are now more willing to live further from their workplace and have a longer commute on office days. For many, bigger homes and more space have become far more important than a shorter commute.

In fact, buyers looking for their next home have widened their search area by an average of 50km2 (19.3 square miles) compared to March 2020, which is an area equivalent to the size of Manhattan. This can be a huge game changer, as will open up a huge number of property listings that wouldn’t have been seen previously.

Our property expert Tim Bannister said: “People have extended their search area, which suggests there isn’t as much reliance on being near key transport hubs, or realising that living just a bit further away from the high street could open up more properties that a buyer can afford, or they may get more for their money. Increasing your search area by 50km2 could open up hundreds more properties to consider and this trend from buyers looks here to stay.”

Cities are rebounding faster than anticipated
Since March 2020, we’ve seen a huge number of home-movers swap city life for countryside and coastal areas, with London seeing the biggest shift. But we’re now seeing buyer demand for homes in the capital and other major cities return faster than many anticipated, with buyer enquiries returning towards pre-pandemic levels. This is probably driven by many businesses encouraging a hybrid remote working model rather than a return to the office full time.

Demand for flats returns as buyers seek city homes
Houses stole the show as the most in-demand property types when the housing market re-opened in 2020, especially bigger houses with gardens. But over the past few months, flats have emerged as the most sought-after property type for prospective buyers of a city home.

“With more availability than other property types, and more steady average asking price growth over the last year, flats could be a good opportunity for people looking to move or to get onto the ladder this year,” said our property expert Tim Bannister.

Shortage of rental homes will start to ease
Prospective tenants have been faced with a shortage of rental homes to choose from this year. This is because some landlords moved their properties into short-lets, to take advantage of the staycation boom, and some tenants chose to renew a lease for another year as rents increased at the fastest rate ever recorded.

Tim Bannister says that if holidays abroad continue to be possible in 2022, more landlords will turn their attention to longer-term tenants as a more secure and stable option. This should then create more available rental homes in the year ahead.