I haven’t written a property market update for a while now, as it’s been pretty clear to see what’s been happening across the UK. A brief look at the news headlines or a browse through the property portals and you would definitely have raised an eyebrow or two in astonishment at the price of your neighbour’s house “how much??!”
A quick recap.
March 2020 saw lockdown number one and the property market grinding to a halt overnight. Three months later in June 2020, after the easing of some restrictions, the government responded with the announcement of the stamp duty holiday until the end of March 2021. Activity in the property market bounced back to life, well actually, it didn’t bounce at all, it literally soared! In the 10 years that we’ve been in business, we had never been busier. It was manic! Buyers who had no real intention of buying for another year or two, entered the market, with the opportunity to save anything up to £15,000 on stamp duty.
With the extension of the stamp duty holiday to the end of June 2021 and the tapered extension to September 2021, the level of housing stock coming to the market just hasn’t kept pace with the rise in buyer demand and this has ultimately resulted in prices rising locally and across the UK between 7-11% since the pandemic began (sources Halifax-Nationwide), with countless numbers of buyers missing out on properties and offers being placed over and above asking price, by those desperately needing to secure somewhere.
Back to today…. and the biggest issue now facing the housing market is the sheer lack of supply.
The number of houses listed For Sale is currently at a 6-year low (source Zoopla) with so many would-be-vendors of houses adopting a wait and see approach. Compare this with the stock level of apartments which has increased dramatically, as owners are concerned of further lockdowns and seek outside green space.
Some house owners have been reluctant to sell due to Covid and the risks of transmission from people entering their homes, some for economic concerns once furlough ends, some not knowing about their future commute, if they’ll work from home or the office, but by far the biggest reason that I’ve seen is because vendors just can’t find a property that they want to buy. I call these the “reactive sellers”, as they only react and sell once they see something they would like to buy, as opposed to getting their property sold stc first and then going to find a property. The fundamental problem with this approach is that they are now caught in a vicious circle.
At some stage in the coming weeks and months, once homeowners decide to move again for all the typical reasons e.g. school places, jobs, more space etc, I do expect to see an increase in the number of properties being listed for sale and a slight softening in buyer demand and property prices as a result. Lenders are already anticipating this, reducing fixed and tracker rates in an attempt to get the market activity flowing again and to prop up demand.
So, if you’ve had your moving plans on hold, could now be the time to start thinking about listing your property, while there is still good demand, strong prices, and little competition from neighbouring properties?
If you’d like to chat more about the above, or the market in general, please just drop me an email or give me a call on 01277 623010 and I’d be very happy to help.
Grace & Rose Estate Agents
t: 01277 623010
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