2020 has been a turbulent year for the property market.
It all started so well with the Conservative party election victory finally delivering clarity on Brexit (we were indeed leaving the European Union). But at the end of March things took a dramatic turn, with the property market forced to grind to a halt when coronavirus took hold and we all had to ‘stay at home’. May saw restrictions on the sector ease — but where is the market currently? And why should you sell your house now?
What happened during lockdown?
The property market effectively stopped. No-one was allowed to carry out viewings, removal companies weren’t meant to operate, and mortgage companies started pulling their products. Combined it meant that no-one could buy or sell for 8 weeks.
Where is the UK property market at now?
In-house viewings are allowed to take place again and buyers can move as restrictions have eased substantially since the height of lockdown in March & April. In addition, the government has cut stamp duty to re-ignite the market and encourage buyers to move before April 2021. If they do, then they can save up to £15,000 in tax.
Have house prices dropped as a result of covid-19?
It’s too early to tell exactly what effect the pandemic will have on house prices, and you’d need a crystal ball to say anything with certainty. Most agree though, that it’s likely that they will continue to fluctuate significantly for the rest of the year.
The good news is, that the market is buoyant at the moment with a ‘mini’ boom in prices. RightMove reported last week that asking prices have jumped to an all-time high and are in fact 2.4% higher in August than they were in March (pre lockdown), plus enquiries to view homes via estate agents is up 75% compared to the same period last year.
Is now a good time to sell?
Yes. Lots of people want to move.
Lockdown has changed people’s priorities; outside space is anecdotally the most valuable asset of 2020, and home offices are a requirement rather than a luxury as we enter this new socially-distant, work-from-home age. Add the stamp duty holiday into the mix and it’s looking positive for achieving a good price.
No one can predict the future, but general consensus is that the ‘mini’ boom will come to an end in the final quarter of the year and prices will probably drop.
How do the stamp duty changes affect first-time buyers?
Probably not that much as first-time buyers were already exempt from paying stamp duty on homes up to the value of £300,000. But — lender’s are starting to bring back first-time buyer mortgages for up to 90% of the purchase price.
Will I have to accept a lower offer?
No — you only ever have to accept an offer that you’re happy with (whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic or not). Bear in mind though, that there are no guarantees that you’ll get a higher offer so be realistic with what to expect.
Should I wait to sell?
It completely depends on your circumstances.
If you’re going through a relationship breakdown then the thought of staying in the same house for the next 6 months might be too much to bear. Equally, if you’ve run into financial difficulties and you need to reduce monthly outgoings immediately, then you may not have much of an option.
We outline your selling options if speed is top of your list in this blog.