Are property purchasers putting enough thought into home buying?

property selling boards outside property for sale

With a limited number of houses available on the housing market, the speed at which many properties are selling has prompted concerns over whether home buyers are putting enough thought into home buying.

The pandemic has inspired a desperate rush to move away from London and other city centres, to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline and start their children off in new schools. Many home buyers are looking to buy larger properties with bigger gardens in edge of town or rural areas, on the assumption that they will continue to be able to work from home. They also hope to have sufficient time and interest in the future to maintain their larger property and garden, without the need to commute into town.

But what if that all changes, as life returns to ‘normal’ after the pandemic? What if their once secure ‘work from home’ job changes, and they’re left living in a rural area, perhaps some distance away from a realistic prospect of finding a comparable job and salary?

Online property marketing sites are experiencing record numbers of visitors, many of whom watch for new properties coming on to the market on an almost hourly basis. Out of town family homes with gardens are currently being snapped up within hours of being put on the market, often at prices exceeding the asking price.

Higher property prices might seem good news for the home seller in a position where they can choose which offer they want to take, or for the estate agents marketing the properties. It is the estate agent’s job and in the home seller’s interest get the highest possible sale price.

However, creating a bidding war between prospective home buyers will leave some home movers concerned about being left homeless, resulting in a reluctance to put new properties on the market. Putting home movers off will only result in fewer properties on the market, which in turn will further escalate house prices.

The number of properties being bought so quickly will also result in upsizers taking longer to complete on their new property and their own buyers having to wait longer before they can move.

It’s a vicious circle, with no clear way to solve the problem. Isn’t it time the problem is tackled at a higher level, instead of the government helping home buyers to take on debts that may not be sustainable through help to buy incentives and first time buyer discounts?