There's no doubt that 2020 will live long in the memory. From the initial challenges of adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the subsequent introduction of the Stamp Duty Holiday, it’s been a year that has ultimately resulted in unprecedented sales figures across the industry.
Our own figures suggest this buoyancy has accounted for an increase in sales of 41% from June to November, compared with the same period in 2019 – in August alone, this figure rose to 78%. In terms of mortgage approvals, October saw the highest numbers seen in 13 years, according to the Bank of England.
The overall picture in terms of house prices has been a 2.6% increase in the South East according to Zoopla, with our own figures showing a significant upward trend of 4%.
There’s no doubt that the housing market is in a state of flux, as consumers react to the impact of the pandemic. In recent times, homeowners have relocated on average every 20 years, but the increasing importance of family and community have never been so important. This has resulted in an increasing trend of older homeowners looking to move closer to family.
Added to this is a revaluation of housing needs – the desire for more green space, good internet speed, and properties complementing the shift in demand for homeworking. These key influencers are set to drive the narrative in 2021.
But what of the ultimate test of consumer confidence – house prices? Zoopla predicts a small reduction in the numbers of transactions next year but a 2.5% increase in prices resulting from a reduced number of properties coming onto the market.
The fact that house prices are predicted to increase is a real positive for the industry. Coupled with the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine and the prospect of returning to a degree of normality quicker than anticipated, this news has injected some well-needed optimism into 2021 projections. This is contrary to some of the inaccurate reports circulating in some areas of the mainstream media.
After what has been a very busy year for all, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.
With kind regards
David Lench, Group Managing Director