Forever homes..how the fallout from the pandemic has made the purchase market even more challenging
What a difference a month makes to the property market in these unusual and uncertain times. House prices rose by 1.7% in July, according to Nationwide building society, following June’s 0.1 per cent decline as we reported last month. June’s fall in property prices was the first since December 2012.
These figures help illustrate why purchasing a property remains such a tricky proposition. The surge in activity reported by agents in June and July is down to a combination of pent-up demand from those who wanted to move before lockdown but put their move on hold because of Brexit, coupled with those who now want more space, whether inside and/or out.
Continued lack of stock
Certainly, the housing market has been exceptionally busy since it started to re-open in May with many estate agents reporting a record number of enquiries. However, anyone who has tried to purchase property is likely to have found it to be an incredibly frustrating experience as the market has been attempting to function on a limited basis. As has been the case for many years, there is a continued lack of stock and this constricted market is presenting few opportunities. As property search agents working on behalf of disabled clients with specific needs and urgent requirements, which must be met within certain timeframes, this presents us with a challenge. However, the PLG team has not been fazed, responding with increasingly creative solutions.
Stamp duty boost
The Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday, saving buyers up to £15,000 on a property purchase, has proven to be a significant boost to the market. It has helped encourage further activity, increasing the number of transactions across the board. We welcome it as a hugely positive market stimulus, with a rise in transactions a more reliable sign of a healthy, functioning housing market than an uptick in property values.
The only concern is that there may be a cliff edge when the holiday comes to an end on 31 March 2021 as those who complete on a property purchase in, say, the first week of April will be out of pocket. This may well result in a further surge in activity in the market in the spring, followed by a quieter summer, as buyers attempt to bring forward purchases in order to save on the tax. Perhaps Rishi Sunak will take another look at the end-date nearer the time to ensure it doesn’t distort the market further still.
Relationships with agents
With limited stock available, coupled with increased demand for it, our relationships with estate agents are more crucial than ever. However, since the easing of lockdown this has also been trickier as many firms have kept staff on furlough, worried that the flurry in activity may not be sustainable. Yet while the situation is more difficult, the excellent relationships we have historically enjoyed with agents can make a difference between a deal being done or not, and why our clients need someone like PLG acting for them when it comes to finding their forever home. With transactions falling apart all too easily if not managed properly, the advantage our clients have is that PLG knows what needs to be done to ensure the deal gets over the line.
How PLG can help
The reason for our successful outcomes stems from our firmly-held belief that our clients’ needs are paramount. They are purchasing a lifelong home, typically to a strict budget and with limited stock you always need a degree of creativity or an understanding of what can be done. We must get it right.
Our network of agents and contacts within the industry is crucial to our success. We take a pro-active approach to finding solutions, with the creativity of our in-house architectural team adding to what is possible. We are in a unique position to assist your clients so please get in touch to find out more.