In 44 years of estate agency I have never experienced such frenetic conditions as I have this year. Without doubt, 2020 has been the craziest year the property market has ever seen, so to put in context our predictions for 2021, you firstly need to take a look back at events over the last 12 months.
2020 started with the General Election result decided and Brexit done (or so we thought), but then Covid-19 hit and lockdown arrived. The Coronavirus pandemic made people reassess their lives and as a result many actively sought to bring their moving plans to life.
Despite the challenges presented to the property industry and considering our branches were physically closed for 3 months during the first lockdown, exceptional efforts from our team meant that we helped a record number of people achieve their dream and move home in 2020; selling £1 billion worth of property in Surrey and south west London with such intensity that we sold a property every 90 minutes throughout the year.
2020 In Numbers
Despite our offices being closed for 3 months during the first lockdown, data taken from the number of people we’ve helped to move home in 2020 vs 2019, really does tell the story of the crazy year it has been and the effect the pandemic has had on the Surrey property market.
- 26% increase in the value of homes sold in 2020 compared to 2019
- 9% increase in average sale price of properties sold by Burns & Webber and our sister company Curchods
- 24% increase in the number of properties coming to the market with Burns & Webber and our sister company Curchods
- 37% increase in the number of 2nd hand property sales agreed by Burns & Webber and our sister company Curchods in 2020 year on year
Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla confirms that activity levels have increased in the property industry as a whole, commenting: “2020 has been a rollercoaster year with the pandemic unlocking a sizable amount of latent demand for housing that has pushed prices higher. However, with the ‘normal’ way of living thrown into chaos and with everyone spending more time than ever before at home, this led to a major shift in lifestyle aspirations and ultimately more people seeking larger properties with gardens and space for homeworking.”
- Zoopla estimates that overall house sales in 2020 increased from approximately £238bn to £300bn in value
- Buyers have saved up to £15,000 during the Stamp Duty Holiday scheme
- National house price growth is running at a three-year high of 3.9% – the highest rate since August 2017 and up from just 1.3% in 2019
- Asking prices rose 6.6% year on year in 2020 according to Rightmove
Predictions for the property market in 2021
The momentum built up in the end of year market is expected to support a seasonally strong start to 2021, with older, equity rich, long-time homeowners continuing to take a growing share of sales.
Improved availability of higher loan-to-value mortgages for those with deposits of 10% or more are already increasing, which will support first-time buyers over the next 12 months.
The Covid-19 situation remains incredibly volatile. However, assuming the vaccines are delivered and they have the desired effect, then we can look forward to an active year in the Surrey property market, with Rightmove predicting a robust 4% national average house price growth in 2021.
Andrew Dewar, Burns & Webber Joint Senior Partner, comments;
“There are of course the soothsayers that predict Armageddon with falling house prices, but there is still massive pent-up demand from the four years of holding back and what we have witnessed this year is only the tip of that iceberg.”
There are hardships being faced with many job losses, but this will also motivate some to move, therefore we should see an active market in 2021, Covid-19 permitting.
While the pandemic has resulted in an increase in activity within the housing market, it is not immune to economic forces and rising unemployment, so we have to watch carefully how the next few months bring for all of us.
What is absolutely vital for anyone thinking of a move as we enter the New Year, is that no matter what your motivation might be, make sure you seek solid, expert advice. Early planning and preparation and having an expert, professional estate agent to assist you throughout the entire moving process has never been more critical to ensuring your move in 2021 is a success.”
Lettings Market Predictions
Our sales branches witnessed first-hand the dramatic affect that the events of 2020 have had on the property market and how these have increased the number of people looking to move home. Landlords have also benefitted, with rental prices increasing by an average of 6% on new tenancies.
The basic supply and demand imbalance for good rental properties means that rents should remain stable in 2021 as Surrey offers increased desirability due to the effects of the pandemic.
Rents will not drastically increase during 2021 due to the overall economic landscape and renewal rates will remain high, but the quality of tenants and good length of tenancy will hold far more weight with landlords this year as they will want to avoid issues with rent arrears owing to the current ban on evictions as well as lengthy void periods during the pandemic.
Services that Burns & Webber offer Landlords, such as Guaranteed Rent Protection & Legal Cover are going to be more important than ever in the current climate. We are also advising Landlords to opt for our Managed Property service level to ensure they have the best advice and support throughout their tenancy.
Not only does it take just 7 days for us to get an offer for a rental property, but the value of the rent guarantee and legal cover service, in conjunction with our property management service, that Burns & Webber offer, means the level of client service has never been higher.
Whilst making predictions in the current climate is always going to be difficult, it surely has to be easier than solving 3 rubik’s cubes simultaneously whilst juggling, (yes it has been done!) so we’re confident in our appraisal of the next 12 months.