Will the UK Property Boom Continue in 2021?
It’s safe to say that quite a lot happened in 2020, turning our everyday lives upside down. The unforeseen pandemic caused places of work to close, parents having to home school and the hospitality sector shutting its doors. With the roll out of the vaccine there is light at the end of the tunnel, but will things really return to the way they were? With many businesses realising they can operate remotely, cutting the costs of renting office space and commuting, they have worked remote working into their future business plans. With employees commenting that they prefer the work life balance, which working from home allows and in turn reducing the carbon footprint, working from home definitely has its benefits. With 90% of people saying they would like to work from home in some capacity moving forward and over half saying they want to work from home often or permanently.
With the knowledge that working from home is now an option for many, the housing market has seen a demand for properties in countryside locations. With buyers looking to move out of their city dwellings. According to Rightmove, property searches from city dwellers for ‘village houses for sale’, had risen 126% in June and July 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. With lockdowns confining people to their homes, it comes as no surprise that people are searching for larger houses with outside space. Liverpool, for example, saw a huge increase of people searching for ‘countryside homes in villages’ (during June and July), up 275% on 2019.
However, with the stamp duty holiday set to end on the 31st March 2021, what are the predictions for the housing market this year? It is estimated that there are 613,000 houses trying to reach completion before the stamp duty holiday ends and advice for those starting to look at buying a house is, ‘not to factor in the stamp duty cut’, with the average time to complete a sale being just over 4 months. January searches on Rightmove for property are up 33% on the same period in 2020, and even though a slower second quarter is predicted, the needs of movers is still set to drive sales.
Tim Bannister, property data expert for Rightmove explains, “While the tax savings were an added incentive, movers’ desire for more inside and outside space seems to be continuing, and this new lockdown could be a spur to act in 2021 for those who can and who did not do so in 2020.”
So, with the demand for housing set to continue in 2021 what are home buyers looking for when searching for their dream property? According to a survey conducted by the fitted furniture specialists, Hammonds, 45% of homebuyers are willing to spend more for outside space, closely followed by a garage (37%) and a conservatory (31%). If you are looking to maximise the potential of your property before putting it up for sale, the survey found that 62% of potential buyers would be put off by signs of damp, a problem which can also decrease the value. Fixing issues such as damp and brightening up the home to maximise its potential will help increase its sale value.
Holly Herbert, Head of Content at WeBuyAnyHouse offers advice, “In general, to get a house in a good position to sell I would say decoration is key – freshly painted walls make a big difference, even if it’s the same colour as before, as it will make the place brighter and remove any scuffs and marks.”
2021 will also see a focus on greener housing. With the government announcing an extension to its Green Homes Grant to the 31st March 2022, home owners now have longer to take advantage of the scheme, which offers up to £5000 towards improvement costs that result in an increase in energy efficiency. Insulation, heat pumps, biomass boilers and double or triple glazed windows are all covered under the grant along with labour, materials and VAT. Landlords should look to capitalise on the grant too, with people renting for longer and the increased knowledge of environmental issues, people are leading more sustainable lives, with green housing being a high priority.