Written by Wesley Muchimwe | 15th February 2021

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Moving forward together: A seller’s market in 2021

For most of us a house is primarily a home, although in all honesty most home owners would like to consider their property an appreciating asset. Figures released by the Land Registry on this subject are encouraging. Average house prices in the UK increased by 7.6% last year, the highest annual growth rate since June 2016.

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Country house sales jumped 11% over the same period, despite the spring market shutdown.

At Michael Graham the momentum that built up at the end of 2020 continues apace with property sales agreed across our network of offices up 36% compared to last January. So, as we approach the end of the stamp duty holiday what are the housing market headlines?

  • The average property price has almost tripled in the past 20 years, from £81,628 to £224,337. Northamptonshire is among the top five counties in England where the market is racing and benefitting sellers, according to data by data company PropCast. England house prices remain the highest in the UK. If you're considering selling up, we can help you find out how much your home is worth

 

  • London’s average house prices remain the most expensive of any region in the UK, averaging £514,000 in November 2020. This is a record high and the first time London’s average house prices have surpassed £500,000.

 

  • Housing preferences have changed since the pandemic. Lockdown disillusionment created one of the biggest market trends last year as the desire for more space propelled people from the city to the country. Coronavirus also pushed many Londoners to bring forward plans to not just move to the country, but to move further into the shires than ever before.

 

  • Pre-pandemic, the beginning of 2020 had seen a pick-up in annual growth in the housing market, a phenomenon described at the time as the Boris Bounce. That rise in house prices was compounded by pent up demand after the spring lockdown. According to the latest data from HMRC, more homes changed hands in the last three months of 2020 than for any quarter in the past 13 years.  

 

  • It is still possible to get a good mortgage deal. The Bank of England reported that mortgage approvals increased in November 2020 to 105,000, the highest since August 2007. The availability of some cheap mortgage rates leaves scope for further house price growth, despite the end of the stamp duty holiday. Some things remain the same though, including the fact that the larger the deposit you can provide, the easier it is to get a deal.

 

  • If the first lockdown is anything to go by, we should see a further spike in demand and more homes coming to market when the Prime Minister sets out his road map out of lockdown later this month. This should help protect house prices when the stamp duty holiday ends.

 

  • Experts are confident that the housing market will continue to outperform general expectations in 2021 just as it did in 2020. Confidence has been bolstered by the striking of a Brexit deal and the successful rollout of the coronavirus vaccinations, both of which pave the way to a return to some kind of normality for the housing market and the wider economy.

 

  • In other good news, organisations such as Capital Economics, an economic consultancy, have forecast that the economy could bounce back to its pre-pandemic size as soon as the beginning of 2022.

 

  • While accurate price forecasting is notoriously difficult, most property experts agree that prime properties that appeal to buyers able to live and work where they choose may well continue to experience a boom. Country houses, equestrian properties and coastal homes are therefore expected to continue to be the strongest sector of the market, with buyer demand being compounded by this third – and let’s hope final - lockdown.

 

If you would like to find out the value of your home in today’s market, we would love to hear from you. You can book a free market appraisal on our website, or call your local Michael Graham office to talk things through. Whether you want to sell now or later in the year, let’s move forward together in 2021.

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