Since lockdown restrictions eased, property demand has risen sharply. Buyers, it seems, are returning to the market. Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby looks at whether the property market is on the rebound.
Covid-19 has had a profound impact on almost every aspect of our lives. The lockdown put the brakes on almost every retail sector outside of essentials as people hunkered down at home. Like many others, the property market was on hold. Now though, with a hint of freedom on the horizon, the market is kicking into gear.
In England, where the housing market reopened in May, buyer inquiries have rebounded strongly. In fact, property website Zoopla predicted UK prices are set to increase by between 2% and 3% over the next quarter.
Part of this is pent-up demand – we all know people who’ve had to put their property sale or purchase on hold. You have to wonder, too, whether the pandemic has also had an effect on how and where people want to live. Demand for homes with green space are increasing, as is interest in properties outside the major urban centres – perhaps a reflection of how working from home is impacting location. Rightmove recently reported a spike in searches for homes in the countryside with good transport links and out-of-city locations, ranging from small market towns to tiny fishing villages.
While buyer demand is elevated and agreed sales have showed an increase over the same time last year – in early June the number of new sales agreed rose by 137% since the market reopened – Zoopla found the choice of properties available per estate agency branch is down by around 15% typically, compared with a year ago. This is changing though, with the level of new listings recovering as economic activity resumes.
Activity levels are also expected to rebound in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as pent-up demand is released, which will provide a much needed boost over the next few months. The Welsh government has permitted a partial opening of the housing market in Wales, the Northern Ireland property market is now operational and the Scottish government relaxed restrictions on house moves at the end of June.
Needless to say, developments are fluid. There’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding the pandemic and what its ultimate impact will be on economic growth, financial and real estate markets. There is, however, a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Sam Funnell on 07714 515484 or visit www.fineandcountry.com