The ‘off-market’ housing market is bigger than ever!

- Wed 14 Dec 2022

It is no secret that the country’s housing market is in a period described change, although it is being described in a variety of ways; some referring to it as a transition, others a correction, whilst the doom mongers amongst us are calling it a crash or even worse, it will fall off a cliff and drop 30%! None of the so-called ‘experts’ or perhaps more realistically, headline writers are talking about the off-market activity which is underpinning the industry.

Let’s start by explaining what is meant by the off-market housing market; this is where properties are agreed to be sold, or even just marketed without being advertised publicly due to the sellers’ situation. A common example of this is where a seller is keen to move, although cannot find the right property in which to move to. Then it’s often the case that the seller spots a property they are keen to buy so contacts the chosen agent and asks them if they have a buyer they know would be keen given the situation, agree a deal and the transaction proceeds.

The above example happens all the time, and there are a variety of permutations around this depending on the parties given situation, some more actively being marketed, although they still are not publicly advertised online.

The number of sales being agreed and going on to complete is largely unknown although some have suggested this figure could be as high as 40% of sales! The one thing we have seen from potential sellers is the growing concern about the lack of properties that are suitable for them and they are keen to explore ways of finding their next home without the pressure of being advertised to everyone through the internet. If a select individual is willing to pay a seller an acceptable amount and it means they can move to the property they are keen on, a deal is struck.

What are the pros and cons of such activity?

For a start, the seller isn’t likely to achieve the best price through this method of sale because competition is crucial to achieving the highest sale price. They are however saving themselves a lot of potential disruption and inconvenience.

The buyer could purely be in the right place at the right time, or simply have a better relationship with the agent leading to them hearing about the home that they then go on to buy. They have less competition, although if they offer too low the seller will probably go ahead and market publicly.

As a potential buyer, how can you become the one to receive a call about such homes?

The simplest way to increase your chance of hearing about such a property is to ensure you are in a good buying position, ideally having nothing to sell or at least have a buyer in place. Secondly, and perhaps, most importantly, you must strike up a good relationship and understanding with Estate Agents. The more you connect, the more likely they are to recognize you when that moment happens.