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Entering into the purchase of a new property presents a number of challenges, especially
when aspects of the purchase do not proceed quite as anticipated.
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that can be caused having experienced the same ourselves as purchasers.
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Boxing Day property search hits new high
Zoopla announced it saw the busiest run up to Christmas for over a decade, with the market recording sales agreed on more homes in 2020 than in 2019 during the same period. They also announced a 70.5 per cent increase in traffic on Boxing day as people look to take advantage of the stamp duty freeze. This is set to intensify in January given the now imminent end to the stamp duty holiday, which is set to bring more hungry buyers into the market, keen to find and complete on their new home before the stamp duty deadline expires at the end of March.
Boxing day is always a good indicator of how the market is likely to perform at the start of 2021, so to see such huge numbers of interested potential buyers is very promising. A contributing factor will certainly be the national lockdown that is still ongoing, with more people at home having the time to look at what is on the market, not to mentioned revaluating if they have enough space during a period where the whole family is around.
Once the stamp duty holiday concludes at the end of March, there will likely be a slowdown in sales completions as the impetus to move amongst buyers motivated by stamp duty savings dissipates. This will have a knock on effect on transaction volumes later in the year as stamp duty is reintroduced.
Zoopla’s are anticipating house price growth across the country in 2021 to be around 1.0 per cent on average – this will run within a narrow range from 1.75 per cent in Scotland to just 0.5 per cent in the East of England and the North East.
Overall it’s not all doom and gloom out there, especially within the property sector. With the hope of successful mass vaccination and a rising trend in people looking to move home, as a year of homeworking has led people to re-evaluate their housing needs, there is confidence across the industry that momentum will continue into 2021.
Record Breaking End To 2020
The number of potential buyers increased by 29 per cent from October, from 451 to 580, making it the highest number recorded since August 2004.
With September, October and now November all reporting unprecedented figures, it shows the effect the Stamp Duty, Land Transaction Tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax holidays have had on the UK housing market, encouraging an influx of prospective buyers to attempt moving home before the 31 March 2021 deadline.
Record demand, record sales
The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch increased to 13 from 12 in October, making it the highest figure on record since November 2002, which also stood at 13.
Year-on-year for the month of November, the average number of sales per branch has increased by a staggering 86 per cent, a sign of how unusual this amount of activity is for this time of year when traditionally the market slows down over the festive period.
First-timer Buyers and prices
The number of sales made to First-Time Buyers stood at 24 per cent in November, rising from 21 per cent in October. However, this is a slight reduction from 2019 where there were 28 per cent of sales made to First-Time Buyers.
In November, 10 per cent of properties sold for more than the original asking price, a slight rise from October, when seven per cent of properties sold for above the original asking price.
Estate Agents Are Open During Lockdown
The property market has avoided being mandated to be shut during the second lockdown.
While there are many details that have not yet been disclosed, but are hopefully revealed later this week, Housing minister Robert Jenrick revealed on Saturday via Twitter “that the housing market will remain open throughout this period. Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance”.
Letting agents will also still be able to manage their properties because tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, repairers of domestic appliances can enter your home, Jenrick also revealed.
“They will need to follow social distancing guidance that has already been published.”
He also later tweeted that renters will also be able to move home and that both removal firms and estate agents will be ‘able to operate’ although his press spokesperson would not elaborate on whether branches can remain open and an announcement on this will follow in next few days.
Mark Hayward imageMark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark (left), says: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this second lockdown period, and it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance.
“Agents must operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines, to keep the market moving through these uncertain times.”
Agents who still have staff on furlough will also be able to take advantage of the extended jobs retention scheme until the beginning of December. As before, this will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer.
Link to Stamp Duty featureIain McKenzie (left) CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says: “Now more than ever, it is crucial for estate and lettings agents to promote their Covid-secure-policies and display the measures they are taking to ensure the public’s safety,” he advises.
“Given the current situation and the fact that the daily number of Covid cases is rapidly on the rise, people are going to be far more cautious with regard to the businesses they engage with. People will want to work with an agent that is following the guidelines and placing the health of their customers first.”
"Fair and honest advice"
"We went to Paul Simon after a disappointing few months with a different agent on Green Lanes. They had been highly recommended to us by friends of ours in the area. Richard, Abdul & Gary were great! Quick to respond to questions and worries and also to situations that arose along the way. They dealt not only the business aspect but also with the emotional side of selling our home with ease & professionalism."
"Very helpful and professional team"
"Selling our family home which my parents purchased 54 years ago wasn't just selling bricks and mortar for us. I wanted an agency that I could trust, one that would provide first class customer service and who would keep me updated on the sales process as well as the sales strategy. I was kept well informed throughout, dealing with Richard, Abdul and finally Danny who achieved the sale. All three were extremely professional, provided valuable guidance and exceeded the standard of service I was expecting even though my expectations were high from the beginning. The agency fee I paid was well earned, every single penny. This really is as good as it gets."
"Straightforward and trustworthy"
"These guys are professional and committed. They have worked tirelessly for us through a complicated sale, and never gave up. We are eternally grateful to them!"