What a year 2020 has been, and unsurprisingly the housing market has been just as affected as everything else, although not in the way you might think! In spring the property market stalled for nearly three months (as did almost everything else). Many Estate Agents and Conveyancing companies had to temporarily close their offices and furlough staff. It was a difficult time as many were not equipped for remote working.
Agents had to act quickly if they wanted to continue to trade without physically entering people’s homes. Here at EweMove Lichfield & Barton-Under-Needwood we were proactive and visited every property on the market to record video tours so that we could carry out virtual viewings via zoom during this unprecedented time. You may be surprised to hear that we even listed and sold properties virtually during the initial lockdown!
At the end of spring, the property market was one of the first sectors of the economy to be re-opened. Every economist predicted house price drops in the order of 10% in the best-case scenario and 25% in the worst, yet nothing could have been further from the truth. Ever since the housing market emerged from its pandemic-driven freeze there has been a frenzy of home buying.
Those three months had allowed many homeowners to re-evaluate their relationships with their homes. The true worth of an extra bedroom (for an office) became a real asset, as people working from home were having to take calls and work from the dining room table, while juggling family space for home schooling.
Properties with gardens and/or close to green spaces all of a sudden became even more desirable. Then, in another surprise move, the government introduced the Stamp Duty Holiday, meaning that buyers could save thousands of pounds in tax if they moved before the end of March 2021. For those of you who are currently on the market and hoping to beat the Stamp Duty Deadline it would be beneficial to contact a solicitor now and complete your initial paperwork for the sale of your property. This will enable your solicitor to issue draft contracts as soon as a sale is agreed and your buyer’s solicitor will be able to apply for the searches and raise their enquiries straight away.
What about 2021?
The Stamp Duty holiday ends in March 2021. However, this is also when unemployment could reach a peak and there are so many unknowns over how Brexit will play out.
House prices are forecast to drop in 2021 but only time will tell. We are fortunate to be in a part of the country which attracts homebuyers from all over the UK due to our central location and beautiful villages.
My only advice, which holds true at any time, would be, if you are thinking of moving and are wondering when would be the right time to put your house on the market, there is no ‘right time’, only the ‘right time for you’.
Many owners looking to move want to wait until they have found a house to buy before putting their current home on the market. While this might feel quite logical my recommendation is that you need to be in a position to make an offer if you find somewhere you like. So, my advice is always to put your house on the market first and wait until you have a buyer for yours before going to view potential properties to buy. You will also save yourself some heartache this way!
Whatever your plans for the year ahead, I wish you all good health, and know that we can beat Covid-19 together!
Happy New Year to you all