Dan Barclay, Partner of Seddons looks back on the rollercoaster year of 2020.
At the beginning of 2020 Brexit dominated the news, there were a few reservations but overall, the property market held strong. The next challenge we faced, which no one could foresee, was Coronavirus.
Lockdown may have slowed the property market, but it created other struggles for us to overcome, such as running a busy office with some staff furloughed and others working remotely and of course getting used to the socially distanced, Covid secure, new normal way of working which we have all had to adapt too.
The pause for the property market didn’t last long, we were soon back to full speed ahead and not enough hours in the day. Our train ride is not over yet, with all engines burning hot, progressing sales before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end on 31st March 2021.
While the stamp duty holiday certainly helped some buyers, we have seen the majority of movers have different motivators for finding that perfect nest. For thousands and thousands of people, the extra time spent at home during the lockdowns has encouraged them to re-evaluate their priorities and the work/life balance.
A positive to come out of lockdown, is that many companies having been encouraged to allow their employees to work from home, have found a system that worked well, enabling them to develop their policies to continue working from home.
The opportunity to work from home has given freedom of choice to many families who no longer need to live in a city, or somewhere with an easy daily commute to work. Properties offering a home office or an extra bedroom to create a work from home space, have been very popular during 2020.
A larger garden, parking or moving closer to family have been other reasons for property purchases. Overall, we have seen a greater number of people wanting to buy a home, not just a house. Moving to invest in their future and improve quality of life, for many that is a quieter, healthier lifestyle, often in the countryside. What better place to live, than within the towns and villages of the South West?!
The successive lockdowns causing people to re-evaluate their housing needs, lead to a rise in buyer demand, which soared by 40%. Zoopla reports sales were agreed on more than £300bn worth of property during 2020, that’s 26% higher than in 2019! These high levels of buyer demand, combined with the shortage of homes for sale, has pushed annual house price growth up to a three-year high of 3.9%.
Looking forward to 2021, buyer demands seem set to hold firm. More lockdown restrictions, coupled with the new working practices continue to prompt more re-evaluation of home, property and lifestyle choices.
With Brexit having come to an agreement and the rollout of the Covid vaccine we hope to look forward to a brighter and more optimistic year ahead.
We believe that the property market in our region will remain active through 2021 with values continuing to rise. Buyers will carry on being attracted by our fantastic way of life and beautiful surroundings.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of selling or to arrange a free property consultation, please get in touch with your local Seddons branch.