Well, what a year it has been for everyone, including the property market. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who could’ve predicted everything that has happened this year.
This time last year, I sat down to reflect on 2019 and also turn my thoughts to what 2020 would look like for the property market.
My main thoughts were that I expected the property market to be one of the main beneficiaries from the December General Election, and for it to push on and pull itself from uncertainty.
However, uncertainty seemed to be one of the main themes of this year! Whilst it hasn’t been simple for the property market, it has fortunately not suffered too badly with the effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
Back in April, a week after the country shut down on March 23, instructions across Andrews, and the property market in general, fell by around 80-90% and viewings plummeted a staggering 99% as everything came to a stop.
I think I speak for everyone when I say we all really didn’t know how the property market and economy would recover from this initial collapse.
However, the property market is resilient, and as early as May it was back on its feet, doing everything it could to get back up and running. We had to adapt quickly to provide virtual solutions to meet customer needs which led to valuations, viewings and instructions picking up across the summer months. The pickup of the property market was of course aided by the announcement in July by The Chancellor regarding the stamp duty holiday.
The main change in the property market this year has actually been the significant increase in property prices. The stamp duty holiday ignited already strong post-lockdown demand and this coupled with the desire of many people to relocate away from major cities, has driven prices higher.
In Halifax’s November house price index, it reported that house prices were 1.2% higher than October, which added almost £3,000 onto the average home.
Another significant change in the property market this year has actually been homeowners and renters needs and wants when it comes to their properties.
No one expected to have to work from home and not be able to get out and about. However, as the working from home trend looks to continue, office rooms and outdoor spaces are coming at a premium.
I think that over the next year or so more and more people will review their current home to see if it still meets their needs, and it may come as a surprise to some that it doesn’t anymore.
Although this year is coming to a close, the market is still likely to continue to face challenges in 2021 with Brexit and the continued effect that the pandemic will have on the economy.
However, Rightmove’s last house price index for the year forecasts a 4% rise in property prices in 2021.
This would potentially come as a surprise to many who expect the market to slow slightly once the stamp duty holiday deadline expires in March. Only time will tell…
*Ellie Donaghy is Head of Lettings at Andrews Property Group