Rightmove | London extends lead as most searched UK location on real estate | Daily News Byte

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The lockdown dream of leaving the city behind and owning a large house in the countryside or by the seaside faded in 2022 as homebuyers picked up where they left off before the pandemic: house hunting in London.

Rightmove said the capital was the top location by some distance in 2022 with 9% more searches than last year. Meanwhile the number of searches for homes in Cornwall and Devon fell sharply, although the counties, famed for their stunning beaches, came second and third in the property website’s annual list of most searched locations.

A dramatic shift to domestic work during the pandemic has seen many Britons reconsider where they want to live. Cornwall was more popular than London on the site for several months of 2021, although the city ended the year in first place overall.

However, buyer sentiment returned to pre-pandemic standards in 2022, Wrightmove said, adding that while searches for London properties were up 9%, those for Cornwall and Devon were down 18% and 17% respectively.

That meant London ended the year with 36% more buyer searches than Cornwall, the biggest difference since 2019. The gap between the two positions in 2021 was only 3%.

Rightmove’s property expert, Tim Bannister, said recruitment started towards the end of 2021 and this 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 fade, the cost of life comes to the fore. Searches for “bills included” in the rental market are up 57% this time last year as renters worry about rising energy costs, Rightmove said.

It was the most competitive rental market on record, with four times as many tenants inquiring about move-in properties as there were properties to rent in 2022.

Homes sold fastest in Scotland, where Livingston in West Lothian was the year’s “fastest market” with homes finding buyers in an average of 15 days. All of the top five areas are in Scotland, with Bowness, West Lothian in second and Larbert, Stirlingshire in third.

High borrowing costs, coupled with a predicted recession, mean storm clouds are gathering over the UK housing market after several years of the biggest boom in property prices ever.

The general consensus among property experts is that prices will fall in 2023 but there is no agreement on how much. Forecasters have been wrong before but this time there are factors like the recent spike in borrowing costs that increase the likelihood of a recession.

The Bank of England has raised interest rates consistently over the past year, from a record low of 0.1% to 3.5% at this month’s meeting – with further increases forecast. There was some evidence that the housing market had weakened as the number of home purchases fell to 60,000 per month, the lowest since 2013.

While Halifax believes that rising mortgage costs and the cost of living will push house prices down by around 8% in 2023, a report published on Nationwide on Tuesday argues that a “soft landing”, with prices down by around 5%. possible

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said “risks have turned to the downside, but there’s still a good chance we could achieve a relatively soft landing next year with modest stability below pre-pandemic levels and lower house prices, perhaps.” About 5%”

“The Bank of England is likely to raise interest rates slightly, although in recent years most borrowers have opted for fixed-rate mortgages linked to long-term interest rates which may have peaked. If so, this should help provide some support to affordability as there will be solid gains in nominal earnings growth and a modest decline in house prices.”

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

“We are hearing from agents that they are 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 may be encouraged next year.

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