Homes demand is up!

The housing market remains notably busy, with demand for homes in the new year up 49% compared with the three-year average, according to Zoopla.

This reflects the total number of buyers contacting agents in the four weeks to January 16 2022, compared to the average over a similar period between 2018 and 2021. The property portal’s latest UK House Price Index showed an increase in buyers similar to the level seen during the stamp duty holiday, it said.

Within this, Zoopla saw “record demand” for all property types. Three-bedroom homes outside London were the most desired house type – demand for these was four times higher than the five-year average. But demand for flats reached its highest level in five years, the data also revealed.

Zoopla’s research showed that in 2021, UK average house prices rose 7.4% to £242,000 following a 4.2% increase in 2020.

But with a lack of supply being a “major theme” of the market since the pandemic began, a “significant” imbalance between supply and demand persisted, Zoopla added. Stock levels were 44% lower against the five-year average. At the same time, it noted a slight improvement against late 2021, when stock was down 47%.

The demand for family homes in 2021 was driven by the pandemic-driven “search for space”, the stamp duty holiday and changing working patterns for office-based employees, Zoopla said.

Gráinne Gilmore, Zoopla’s head of research, commented: “Just like much of 2021, the number of homes available for sale is lower than typical levels, but there are signs that the imbalance between demand and supply is starting to ease.

“As more potential sellers are able to find a home to move to, this will spur more supply in the weeks and months to come.”

She also noted the sharply rising demand for flats, “with international demand, relative affordability and workers flowing back into cities all combining to energise this market”.