2020 has been a volatile year for all sorts of industries and markets, with the political uncertainty of Brexit and the economic disruption of the pandemic creating persistent problems.
The property market is especially sensitive to significant shifts such as these, although it is equally difficult to predict exactly how it will respond to unique crises.
So what will the events of the year mean for house prices and how can buyers and sellers alike expect things to play out going forward?
Delays are an issue
Before delving into the financial side of things, it is worth pointing out that the biggest change that 2020 has brought about is one of the increased likelihood of delays. From hold-ups when getting a mortgage to issues with searches and surveys, the complications created by COVID-19 have left many organisations involved in wrangling the process of buying and selling homes in the UK pushed to the brink of their capacities and beyond.
Because of this, services like Sell House Quickly have become more popular, as owners now realise that they need to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later and take every step they can to make sure that delays are minimised.
Urban areas are less appealing
The national lockdown which was imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus revealed to many city-dwellers that life in the big smoke was not ideal if you had no access to a garden or other green spaces.
This has led to an increased interest in countryside locations, with house prices in more rural regions being bolstered by the fact that urbanites are increasingly interested in moving to places where they will be less constricted in the event of subsequent lockdowns and other pandemic-related measures being introduced.
Incentives are commonplace
With house prices reaching new heights in spite of exacerbating circumstances, it is worth noting that the current demand is partly being fuelled by a mixture of government incentives and generally favourable conditions for buyers and sellers.
The removal of stamp duty on properties worth under £500,000 until March 2021 has afforded many people more flexibility in terms of their budget, as well as effectively setting a deadline by which it makes sense to act on that all-important purchase, rather than holding off and potentially having to fork over thousands more as a result.
In addition the incredibly low interest rates that are in place make it even more affordable to borrow from top lenders, particularly at a fixed rate.
Uncertainty is inevitable
While the UK’s property market is in good health at the moment, it is very difficult to make firm predictions about whether this state of affairs will persist, or whether a big dip in values and demand is on the horizon.
The speed with which the economy recovers after the COVID-19 crisis will be instrumental in determining this, as will the outcome of the UK’s exit from the EU. For those looking for a home, rather than an investment, it remains a good time to buy, although what the future might bring is unknown.