I’m sorry to break this to you but in 10 days’ time it will be autumn - and we will have had the last Bank Holiday of the year before (yes, you guessed) Christmas.
It’s been a summer to forget if your criteria for happiness included sunshine; if you were interested in transactions, it was a period of unbridled joy.
So as the grey days of late August segue into…well, more grey days in September, what is in store for our industry?
September 30 - Furlough Ends: The Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme finally winds down to an end and with it the final protections for those who may actually be jobless but don’t yet know it. However, the economy has bounced back more rapidly and more strongly than most anticipated, so the risk has been much diminished - we hope.
September 30 - Stamp Duty Holiday Ends: We know from the Scottish experience (where the equivalent tax break ended late April) that transaction volumes dip, inevitably, as demand drops. Then something more like the typical seasonal market variations return.
October 3-6 - Conservative Party Conference: This is likely to be when we get the first hint of what may be in the Renters’ Reform Bill (more in a moment) and possibly a hint of tax upheavals in the Autumn Statement (more in a different moment). Remember, this is a conference at which major announcements really are made, but in an uplifting manner to reward the party faithful - the genuinely bad news may be held over until later.
October 31-November 12 - COP 26: The Climate Change conference is a global affair but there’s no doubting the influence it’s already having on pushing housing-related deadlines for EPCs, MEES and other domestic energy efficiency initiatives. Expect more in the weeks leading up to the event - including a replacement, of sorts, for the Green Homes Grant which promised so much for landlords in particular, yet delivered so little.
November 25 (tbc) - Autumn Statement: Few doubt that this will be when Chancellor Rishi Sunak finally comes clean on how we’re going to recoup the Coronavirus spending. Speculation has started already - most suggest higher Capital Gains Tax, a few believe there may be a more radical and wider property tax to combine and replace the income received from stamp duty and council tax.
Autumn (date tbc) - Renters’ Reform Bill: Already heavily trailed, there is little chance that this will be other than more restrictions on the private rental sector. Expect some form of Deposit Passport to facilitate easier tenant moves, and the long-anticipated scrapping of Section 21. Insider gossip suggests a dedicated Housing Court - wanted by Propertymark and the NRLA landlord body - might well be created to handle a reformed Section 8.
Agent Regulation: At some point the Regulation of Property Agents working party recommendations (now 25 months old) will see a considered response from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Maybe it will be this autumn, maybe not. More likely this autumn will be the first results of a closely-related working party looking at codes of practice to hand to a regulator if one is appointed in the distant future.
Transaction Reform: The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is trialling new digital IDs this autumn, while the Home Buying and Selling Group (set up back in 2017) will continue meeting and, perhaps, produce more recommendations. The folk involved, from our industry and government, are respected and good; however, in a world where Afghanistan falls in a week, such bureaucratic processes seem glacially slow.
Portals: OnTheMarket half-year figures traditionally come out in October and Rightmove hypes up Christmas portal visits a few weeks ahead of time, while Zoopla has a formidable publicity machine pushing out stats regularly. All of which means there will be more pressure on Boomin to come up with some apples-with-apples comparison figures to show it’s providing leads and capable of winning agents on paid-for deals once current offers end.
Live Shows and Conferences: Live, yes, with people. The Resi Convention in early September, the Property Investor Show in mid-October and the ESTAS Awards event late that month are perhaps amongst the largest in-person property events to be held for two years.
Christmas: The 2021 edition is certainly going to be better than last year’s Covid-restricted affair. After the next few months, I think we’ll all have earned a proper break, don’t you?
Editor of Estate Agent Today, Letting Agent Today and Landlord Today, Graham can be found tweeting about all things property at @PropertyJourn