Online property portal Rightmove has revealed their latest index, indicating the busiest period for the property market in a decade. According to the study, the number of potential buyers making enquiries per property has increased by 34% year-on-year.
Comparatively to this time last year, the UK housing market is in a boom period. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the property market was on a total freeze with viewings and transactions on hold and the majority of lenders ceasing borrowing.
However, against all odds, the recovery has been better than anyone could have expected. Specialist lender MT Finance calls the comeback “astounding”, crediting the government-implemented stamp duty holiday for increasing buyer confidence.
Following the events of the last year, it is not surprising that one of the key trends has been an increased demand for space. This refers both to more spacious properties and those with greater outdoor space.
Formerly desirable traits, such as an easy commute or close proximity to a station or the office, have decreased as the nation has shifted to a remote working lifestyle. This is also shown in the shift away from city centres in favour of commuter belt cities and greener spaces.
MT Finance continues: “Many Londoners have been looking for much larger pastures new, heading to the traditional commuter belts of Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex, and Berkshire, and even further afield such as Norfolk.”
“This opens up whole counties that may have been considered off-limits before, and relatively cheaper property prices. This, combined with low mortgage rates, makes it a win-win scenario for buyers.”
There has also been an increased interest in home renovations especially people maximising their home and garden space and creating a specialised home office.
With interest rates remaining low, at around 0.1%, experts predict that the market will remain stable, at least on a short-term basis.
The addition of 95% loan-to-value mortgages is expected to keep demand high, making entering the property ladder a more achievable goal for many more across the country.
Yorkshire Building Society has already started to follow the government’s incentivised mortgage guarantee scheme, and other big banks are expected to do the same.
The Future of the Property Market
At this stage, the situation is unpredictable and will depend heavily on the country’s restrictions and how closely we follow the government-outlined roadmap.
Although there are many schemes to facilitate mortgages, stable employment is still a key criteria for people to receive finances. As long as the furlough scheme exists and the economy is unstable, the housing market will continue to be affected.
Historically, the Easter period is one of the peak times for the UK housing market and 2021 seems to be no different. As the vaccinated population continues to grow, and lockdown restrictions are eased, activity for the UK property market over the coming months is thought to remain high.