17 December, 2020
Autumn is traditionally a popular time to put your house on the market, but with the extraordinary events of 2020, everything we know has been turned on its head! The typically busy selling season of spring saw a complete freeze of the property market and once business was able to resume and stamp duty holiday announced, the usually quieter months saw a huge boom in activity.
Now we're into winter, and if your house move isn’t essential (e.g. you don’t have to relocate for work or downsize) you may be wondering whether to wait until after Christmas or to take the plunge now. The frantic levels of activity in the housing market today suggest that many people who have been sitting on their hands, perhaps during the period of uncertainty that followed the referendum, and then forced to stay put during lockdown, are now seizing the moment to make a move.
So, let’s look at some of the reasons why we’re experiencing a ‘mini-boom’ and why you may want to avoid delaying things too late in the new year.
Christmas and The New Year is often a time to get things down
Many people take holiday across the Christmas period, freeing up time to look online at available properties. Many more people like to look at each new year as a fresh start, a time to take stock and start moving towards their personal goals. This means that making sure your property is available for potential buyers to view online across the festive season and new year can be a great way to increase your exposure.
Stamp duty holiday
The announcement this summer of a stamp duty holiday until 31st March 2021 has really turbocharged the market and set to benefit the most, are those upsizing to more pricey properties.
The cost of stamp duty is often cited as a reason why people choose to remodel their existing house, rather than move, so its removal for a short period is a real bonus – putting an extra £15,000 in the pockets of buyers upsizing to a property worth £500,000 or over.
In Wokingham, where an average 3 bed home is circa. £460,000 and a 4 bedder approximately £630,000, this temporary rate change will apply to a large number of transactions. For more information about how much you could save on the average home in the Wokingham area, read our recent stamp duty blog.
The clock is ticking, but If you act fast, there is still time to meet the 31st of March deadline. Even with Christmas approaching, we would recommend getting valuations underway without delay and getting your property listed asap.
Homes are now selling quicker than ever
Rightmove recently reported that more sellers are finding a buyer within a week of putting their home up for sale than at any time in the past ten years. And we can speak from personal experience, that homes in this area are currently selling like hot cakes!
With such strong buyer demand, not only are properties going under offer in record time, they are also frequently achieving the full asking price or even above. Statistics show that in September, the average home went under offer for a record 98.6 per cent of the asking amount.
If your property languishes on the market, as can happen during quieter periods, you are more likely to have to accept a lower offer in order to get moving.
There are many reasons that we are experiencing a mini-boom. Stamp duty changes come high on the list, but many people are simply reassessing their priorities. For example, plans to move out of the capital have been fast-tracked, dreams of having a garden or spare bedroom are now being realised, causing certain types of properties to be snapped up.
The Home Buyers Alliance recently claimed confidence in the housing market is running at a four-year high. Prices rose by 0.9% month on month in October after jumping by 2% in the previous month as housing market activity surged. Data published by the Bank of England also shows that mortgage approvals have risen to the highest level in almost 13 years.
Price jumps have been evident across the UK, but the commuter towns surrounding London and popular areas of the South East have recorded increases of more than 5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier.
Overcoming concerns about COVID-19
You may be thinking is now really a good time to move, while we are still in the midst of a global pandemic? Thankfully, the roll-out of new vaccines will mean a return to normality at some point in 2021, but in the interim, we are able to operate safely in line with our COVID-19 policy.
At Michael Hardy, we take our responsibility for safety during valuations and viewings extremely seriously. Our staff will be following all the current guidance including washing hands upon arrival at your home, wearing PPE and ensuring social distancing.
Marketing visits will be carried out by our agency photographer (also wearing PPE) who will create a floorplan/EPC and take photographs/scans for an optional 3D tour from a single property visit. More about how we will market your property.
We also have a whole host of protocols that must be adhered to by those either hosting or attending viewings. Read more about how we can market your property safely during Covid-19.
Preliminary viewings can now be conducted virtually via a 3D immersive tour. We are delighted to be able to offer all our vendors the opportunity to have a 3D scan of their property so all first viewings can be carried out without anyone needing to enter your home.
We use Matterport’s market-leading Pro-2 digital cameras to create a digital twin of your property, so would-be buyers can walk through at their own pace via a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Once we have a digital scan of your property, we can also provide accompanied virtual viewings whereby we present your home to interested parties via video conferencing technology.
Our ability to offer virtual viewings should give you peace of mind that only serious buyers will be allowed to attend a physical viewing.
So, we feel there are many compelling reasons for putting your house on the market now. With demand outstripping the current supply of housing, the vast majority of newly listed homes are being snapped up quickly. This puts sellers in a strong position to negotiate and pick from the best buyers who are able to move quickly.
The time-limited stamp duty holiday has encouraged many people to make a move. If you want to take advantage of this window of opportunity, we would urge you not to delay.