Now that we’re several stages into the Government’s roadmap designed to guide us safely back to some semblance of normality, we thought it would be worthwhile looking at how the property market is responding and how it’s likely to look throughout the year.
Back in December 2020, we gave an overview of the property market during Covid and mentioned the concerns surrounding the stamp duty freeze. Thankfully, an extension was announced in the March Budget and will now run until 30 June. In addition to this, until the end of September there will be a staggered return to previous stamp duty rates, depending on property value.
The savings that the stamp duty freeze represents is a huge incentive for buyers and, needless to say, sales are surging. Just as everyone involved in the sales process, from solicitors to surveyors were put under pressure to ensure completion before the end of the stamp duty freeze, the new end date looks set to keep the pressure high.
The market is springing into action
Rightmove’s latest house price index notes that demand is at its highest for 10 years, which has pushed average prices up by almost £2,500.
In the South East the average house price is £421,032. Good news, then, for sellers – with demand outstripping supply a sellers’ market has been created. Equally, enquiries about available properties are up by 34% compared to early 2020.
Easter always marks the beginning of a busy phase for the property market – the days are longer, the sun is (hopefully) out and, we think, this year people will be filled with a sense of optimism.
We appear to be getting on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, the vaccination programme is progressing well, after a year of having to put life on hold now feels a good time to start making changes.
The pandemic and lockdown really did make people take stock. Many will now have the opportunity to work remotely as companies change their working practises and living in an area within commuting distance of work may become a lesser priority. Prospective buyers are now looking more carefully at space, in terms of how a home office can be incorporated. Garden space is also moving up the priority list.
What if you’re trying to get onto the first rung of the property ladder?
Redundancy, job insecurity, furlough, the last year has made it difficult for so many. And rising property prices could mean that buying a home is out of the reach of a whole swathe of the population. However, lenders are now introducing a tranche of mortgages that require just 5% of the loan. Again, this was announced in the Budget and the first products were launched in mid-April.
Measures such as the stamp duty freeze and the new mortgages will hopefully contribute positively to keeping the property market buoyant in the coming months. Based on current trends, which is for two and three bedroom properties in high demand and 30% being snapped up within a week of being marketed, we think 2021 will be busy!
If you’re buying, don’t forget just how important a building survey is. Make sure that property really is your dream home and contact Home-Approved and see how our quote compares.