Ludvic’s Market Comment
Well, what an 18 months! At the beginning of last year (2020) we had no idea of the challenges about to confront us in the property market, and were still trying to explain why we had not seen the downturn predicted by the previous Governor of the Bank of England, as far back as the referendum in 2016, and all the Brexit shenanigans thereafter.
When the pandemic struck and we entered our first lockdown on 23rd March 2020, many pundits, including Chancellors, both past and present, and the current Bank of England chairman – the best informed people in the country! – widely predicted we “could” see a correction in the property market of some 15% to 20%.
The reality is we have seen the polar opposite as the pandemic has led to so many people reassessing fundamental life choices with working from home, earlier retirement, safety and quality of life, driving an ever-increasing number of people ever further westwards, if not directly, then through the knock-on effect.
The ‘bottom line’ we have encountered therefore is more people wanting to move into the area than wanting to move out which, with a constantly decreasing amount of property for sale has, predictably, pushed prices ever higher with, sometimes, 30, 40, 50 people wanting to see that new instruction. The Government’s Stamp Duty Holiday purely added ‘fuel to the fire’, for which they cannot be criticised as, with no blueprint, everything that could be done, should be done, especially with the housing market being such a driver of the UK economy.
Where does that leave us now? Well, with all agents offering a radically depleted number of properties for sale, there is still good response to those properties being released although, clearly, volumes have been reduced as, we suspect, more and more prospective sellers find it more and more difficult to find a suitable onward purchase, at least where they still have a chance of securing a new home in the face of competition with others who don’t have to sell. This scenario does not look as though it is going to change dramatically over the forthcoming months but, as one firm of agents, we implore anyone who is needing/wanting/just thinking about a sale to very seriously consider it, as if everyone in the same boat did so, the choice of available properties would dramatically increase.
Maybe this might even result in slower house price inflation which has, now, got to be a good thing. Believe it or not, we as agents look forward to more ‘sobriety’ in the market to provide vendors with a choice and prospective purchasers with time to make a considered decision which, combined, makes more often than not for a more pleasurable experience which does happen when dealing with a professional, transparent, well-informed and well-informing agent.
Stay healthy and happy house hunting!