Amid signs that some housing market trends are heading back towards the pre-pandemic era, research from Rightmove has found that London has been the most searched-for area among Britain’s home buyers in 2022.
And as living costs bite, there have been signs that renters are increasingly looking for certainty over their bills.
Rightmove said searches on its website for “bills included” when looking for rental properties were 57 per cent higher than a year ago.
The website identified Livingston in West Lothian, Scotland, as this year’s quickest market for home buyers, with properties being snapped up in 15 days on average.
During several months of 2021, Cornwall replaced London as the most searched-for location on Rightmove, as people looked for coastal homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
London luxury property Mansion House - in pictures
Rightmove said this trend reversed in 2022, as buyer search behaviour returned towards pre-pandemic patterns.
Searches for London have increased by 9 per cent compared with last year, while searches for Cornwall dropped by 18 per cent and those for Devon fell by 17 per cent, the website said.
London now has 36 per cent more buyer searches than Cornwall compared with just 3 per cent last year, Rightmove said. This is the biggest gap since before the pandemic, in 2019.
London luxury property Cadogan Square - in pictures
“This year people searching for their next home have well and truly returned to the capital," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert.
"We started to see the tide turning towards the end of last year, and throughout 2022 a lot of our trends in the market have started to head back towards where they were in 2019."
Nationwide Building Society said on Tuesday that the housing market might achieve a “relatively soft landing” next year, with activity stabilising modestly below pre-pandemic levels and house prices edging lower, perhaps by about 5 per cent.
London property Rutland Gate - in pictures
“For the first three quarters of 2022 the housing market was remarkably resilient," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.
“For much of the year, activity levels remained at or above pre-Covid levels, with annual house price growth in double digits, despite intense pressure on household finances from surging inflation and a steady rise in mortgage interest rates.
“Between January and August, the average UK house price increased by almost £20,000 ($24,000), from £255,556 to £273,751.”
Luxury London property Warwick Lodge – in pictures
Here are the most searched-for areas among home buyers in 2022, according to Rightmove:
And here are the locations where properties have sold the fastest this year, according to Rightmove, with the average house asking price and the average number of days to sell a property. All are in Scotland.
1. Livingston, West Lothian, £192,695, 14.7
=2. Bo’ness, West Lothian, £160,710, 15.4
=2. Larbert, Stirlingshire, £215,189, 15.4
4. Falkirk, Stirlingshire, £142,465, 15.6
5. Bellshill, Lanarkshire, £118,883, 15.8