COVID and the housing market
To say the housing market has had a turbulent year to date may be considered somewhat of an understatement. Initially, prospects looked good in January, with reserved talk of this year being one of the best years since the 2008 financial crash in terms of conveyancing transactions.
That talk was soon quashed in March when the housing market came to an almost standstill. When lockdown measures were imposed there was no clarity as to whether people could move or not. Estate agents could no longer carry out viewings, removal companies were no longer take bookings, and people were reluctant to move.
According to HMRC there were approximately 40,000 residential conveyancing transactions in April 2020. Property site Zoopla estimated at one stage there was a 70% fall in the number of sales agreed in the UK. To compare, there were above 80,000 conveyancing transactions in April 2019.
Things were looking pretty bleak with many conveyancers finding themselves on furlough leave and wondering whether there would be any form of recovery.
However, as lockdown measures were gradually reduced the housing market began to find its feet again. Matters which had been on hold were now looking to complete and more properties were being listed on the market.
Mortgage providers are now increasing the loan to value amounts again, many having previously reduced this to 60%. One of the big incentives was, of course, the Stamp Duty land Tax holiday introduced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to try and encourage confidence in the housing market.
This has led to some declaring there to be a mini-boom in the market. With the above incentives and people having revaluated what is important to them in terms of their property requirements there appears to be some buoyancy in the market.
Apparently housing prices are now at an all-time high, 3.8% higher than in July 2019 and the number of transactions appears to be rising.
It is fair to say there have been seismic changes to the conveyancing process and no doubt there will be more to come. There is still uncertainty as to how the market will perform in the coming months and unfortunately, there is no crystal ball to make predictions with. However, the housing market is often viewed as a good indicator as to how the UK economy is fairing as a whole and therefore it is likely there will be keen interest to see whether this short period of growth will be sustained.
If you are looking at selling or buying a property, then please contact one of our conveyancing team who will be happy to provide you with an estimate.