Autumn Property Market Activity
In terms of numbers, October was the fourth month in a row where we’ve helped vastly more people move home in a single month than ever before. Every metric of activity we have, looks positive for our clients:
- The number of new properties coming to the market was up by 48% compared to this time last year.
- Buyer registrations are up 66% year on year.
- We conducted 63% more viewings this October than last October.
- We agreed 56% more sales this October compared to the same month in 2019.
Thankfully, we’ve been expanding our sales teams employing a number of experienced new recruits over the course of the last few months, to make sure that we can cope with the increased demand and successfully conduct viewings.
The challenging part of a property transaction at the moment is the mortgage, the survey and the legal process, which means that now more than ever you need an experienced professional estate agent, such as Burns & Webber, that has good links with these industries so we can manage the process on your behalf.
Is now a good time to buy or sell property in Surrey?
To discover whether now is a good time to sell, you have to look back at a recent bit of history. Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, it’s fair to say that a LOT of people have been put off buying and selling for longer than they should have done because they were waiting for an outcome.
The 2019 General Election Result brought some certainty and confidence to the market, but the fact that the same people have been forced to stay in their homes for an extended period of time during the first lockdown, has really made people realise that they NEED to move. This realisation has brought a lot of homeowners to the market, both trying to sell their existing home as well as typically trying to find somewhere with more space, a bigger garden or space for homeworking.
Thankfully right now, there’s enough choice out there in terms of the diversity of property on the market, to enable people that want to move for the first time in five years, to find the property they really want and need and now get moving.
In recent months we have seen a significant increase in demand for people wishing to move out of London, along with many families looking for a larger property. House prices are generally affected by simple supply and demand economics, but what is nice is that supply has risen in a similar volume to the number of buyers looking, which has kept house prices from rising at a fantastically fast rate.
The latest house price data released by Zoopla showed that asking prices have risen approximately 4.8% in Surrey in the last 12 months.
This is particularly true when it comes to family houses with gardens as these are most in demand at the current time. Properties with good reception space and those offering a dedicated area in which to work from home are also high on buyer wish lists.
What Challenges Face Buyers And Sellers?
Today, even without the day-to-day inconvenience of a global pandemic, the property market can be a complicated place to try to navigate as there can be some real logistical challenges facing buyers and sellers trying to move home.
That said, donning the appropriate PPE has just become part of people’s lives now, we’re all used to the fact we have to put a mask on when we pop to the shops, so it really doesn’t make any difference to house hunters when going on viewings and looking for their dream home.
We have stringent procedures in place for viewings and all the necessary PPE and the vast majority of the buying and selling public are completely on board with staying Covid-safe and are equally wearing masks and gloves on the 4,500 viewing appointments that we conducted in October 2020.
Stamp Duty Holiday
The Stamp Duty Holiday announced by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has provided the opportunity for buyers to save up to £15,000 on Stamp Duty Land Tax until 31st March 2021. This cash saving has caused an enormous upswing in the number of sales being agreed over the course of the last five months. In transactional terms, we are more than double, in fact close to triple, the number of people who have actually sold and bought properties since the beginning of June.
Whilst the industries associated with property transactions such as mortgage brokers, surveyors, solicitors and removal firms have been allowed to stay open throughout this second lockdown, they are swamped with business because everybody’s deadline for completing their purchase (getting the keys) is no later than the 31st of March when the Stamp Duty Holiday ends. For the best will in the world, there are no more recently qualified solicitors and the removal firms only have a finite number of lorries, so just the sheer logistics of finding a day that you can physically move as the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline approaches is going to be very challenging for buyers.
For this reason we’re encouraging anyone who wants to sell, to get their ducks in a row very early on in the process to ensure everything runs smoothly and to schedule.
Will buyers miss the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline?
This differs greatly on what situation you are in. If you are a cash purchaser or you’re buying a vacant property, assuming you’ve got a good solicitor, then you can be confident you will still be able to expedite the transaction and get your sale completed before the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline.
For anybody that is going to have two or three properties above or below them in the chain, as time goes on the reality is that although not impossible, it may become a real struggle, post Christmas, to get the sale completed before the end of March 2021.
How Will The Second Lock Down Affect Buyers & Sellers?
Oddly, the announcement of a second nationwide lockdown has actually sparked extra demand from people wanting to move.
It’s underlined the fact that we really don’t have any tools to fight the Covid-19 Pandemic at the moment, other than confining people to their homes as much as possible, so all the reasons for which people decided they wanted to move during the first lockdown have therefore been brought to the fore again, further increasing their desire to move.
The property industry has been allowed to remain open throughout this second lockdown, so we are expecting the high activity levels we’re seeing at the moment to be sustained.
Naturally, there will be some people that will be nervous to come out and view and we fully understand that, which is why we will be conducting more Virtual Viewings than physical property visits during the second lockdown.
Advice For Those Thinking Of Selling
If you have been considering selling your home, what is certain, is that the quality of buyers out there at present is high.
Buyers are motivated by for many reasons, but the added combination of the Brexit delay, the Covid-19 pandemic and thus a desire and need for more space and the Stamp Duty Holiday, means there has never been a better time to find a buyer for your property.
If you are thinking of buying or selling, you can contact us for free advice on the best route to a successful move. Please book a consultation with us using the button below.
BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION