Letting firm Apropos has found that almost two-thirds of the UK’s largest cities experience a property selling boom. By analysing year-on-year data, they have found that the number of properties for sale has risen between 1-55% in 12 of the countries largest cities.
Due to pent-up demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK is currently experiencing a property boom. With vaccines in the horizon and life soon looking like it could return to some normality, people are finally buying and selling property once again. However, the boom is estimated to have started as early as July 2020 when the stamp duty holiday was introduced.
David Alexander, joint chief executive officer of Apropos, says that the figures from his company’s investigation show that this post-lockdown boom is still thriving as we enter 2021. For example, Edinburgh had the largest increase, with 55% more homes available in December 2020 that in the same period the year before. London had a 40% rise, while Brighton’s was 26% and Bristol’s was 21%. However, some decreases were also seen, with 23% fewer advertised properties in Bradford, 18% less in Liverpool and 17% fewer in Newcastle.
David adds: ‘this demand, which was initially expected to be the result of pent-up demand, has defied expectations and continued through the second half of the year (2020) and shows little signs of abating with buyers keen to get their sale through before the end of the stamp duty holiday at the end of March.’
He emphasises that living in a person’s ideal home has never been so central to our lives as it has now. COVID-19 has indeed revealed what we like and dislike about our homes. People trapped inside flats during lockdown have come to crave their own outdoor space. Meanwhile, city-dwellers are eager to flee the nest for somewhere further afield away from the dangers of city life and closer to nature. All of these personal changes and epiphanies have contributed to the property boom we are experiencing now. As Mark says, ‘individuals are desperate to move to ensure they have a property which is suitable and appropriate to the way people want and have to live now and in the future.’
Looking to the future, we do have to wonder what will happen when the stamp duty holiday is lifted. Mark suggests that the market’s strength will depend on what happens with employment levels and how quickly the economy can bounce back. Simply put, if people’s jobs are secured, and they can go back to work – or their paycheques continue while on furlough – then this improves their chances of affording their home, even with the stamp duty added back on. Whether or not the government keeps supporting workers if the vaccine doesn’t bring infections and death down enough to allow businesses to open up is yet to be seen.
However, the numbers seen in Apropos’ investigation show positive signs that the government policies to encourage the property market have been working. With health and safety guidelines for viewing properties and the property market still open, even the third lockdown is still allowing business to occur. Whether this boom continues through the summer and to the latter end of 2021 depends on how well the UK fares after vaccinations take place, and the impact this has on the economy.