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BARNARD CASTLE, LEYBURN & STOKESLEY
Residential Management Team
For the first time, in a very long while, the housing market appeared to do the opposite of the rest of the economy as people up and down the country re-assessed their life choices following the end of the first lockdown.
The year ended extremely positively with Nationwide reporting the highest growth rate for six years, with house prices climbing by 7.5% in 2020; something that housing market professionals probably thought seemed highly unlikely at the start of the pandemic, myself included.
With the agreement of an EU trade deal, additional perceived risk to the housing market has receded. Combined with the rapid roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and extension of the Stamp Duty holiday to the end of June 21 at the full rate and a further 3 months at half the holiday rate; we have considerable reason for optimism.
The biggest fear for the housing market was the threat of unemployment, but the furlough scheme, which saw the government pay up to 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month, has also been extended until September 2021. This has added additional short term confidence to the market, but when the furlough scheme does come to an end, a rise in unemployment across the UK is likely to be expected. The effect of this may make the lower to mid-range housing market slow and potentially lead to price volatility whilst the higher end of the market above £500,000 is more resilient against these factors and is less likely to be impacted.
For the latter part of 2021, the economy is expected to begin the recovery process as businesses get back on their feet and the ratio of vaccinated people overtakes those unvaccinated. This is likely to cause the housing market to push on again due to improved consumer confidence.
Market activity and property prices will likely fluctuate slightly throughout the year as we move through the process, but our expectations are that the residential property market will remain resilient.
Since the budget, we have seen no reduction in interest from purchasers in our region, with new properties attracting interest from across the UK. Special attention is being paid to those with extra space inside and out and our only real concern is the lack of supply to match this growing demand.
We are looking forward to another memorable year.