Buying and Selling Property in a Post-pandemic Market

Currently, the UK property market is enjoying a boom, with house prices rising by 10% year on year. But what does the post-pandemic world mean for buyers, sellers, and homeowners as COVID-19 regulations are lifted?

July 2021 was an incredibly significant month, triggering the start of almost all COVID-19 restrictions being lifted.

Government statistics estimate there were 198,240 residential property transactions in June 2021, 219.1% higher than June 2020, and 74.1% higher than in May 2021. This current property boom has undoubtedly been driven by the Government’s temporary cut on residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which has offered a welcome tax break for many.

The housing market in England has remained active during lockdown and beyond, with many property transactions taking advantage of the temporarily increased nil band rate to £500,000 for residential SDLT which ended on 30 June. The temporarily increased nil band rate for residential SDLT has now begun to trail off, reducing to £250,000 until 30 September 2021 for buyers in England and Northern Ireland.

So how is coronavirus affecting house prices?

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK average house prices increased by 10.2% over the year to March 2021, up from 9.2% in February 2021; this is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since August 2007. Average house prices increased over the year in England to £275,000 (10.2%), in Wales to £185,00 (11.0%), in Scotland to £167,000 (10.6%) and in Northern Ireland to £149,000 (6.0%).

ONS data indicates that the pandemic may have cause house buyers to reassess their housing preferences. Its UK House Price Index (HPI) data reports that the average price of detached properties has seen an increase by 11.7% in the year to March 2021, in comparison to flats and maisonettes increasing by 5.0% over the same period.

London remains the region with the lowest annual house price growth. However, house prices in the capitol remain the most expensive in any region of the UK, at an average of £500,000.  Specifically, the West Midlands region has seen average prices increase by 10.2% in the year the to March 2021.

How long will it take to buy or sell a property?

Certainly, now that COVID restrictions have been lifted estate agents will no longer be in limbo, as was often the case when lockdown measures were in place. However, there are a few aspects which could mean that the ‘buying/selling’ process may take a little longer than in ‘normal’ times:

  • Search providers and lenders may have longer delivery times due to back-logs after Council departments and Surveyors having been shut down during lockdown.
  • If someone in the chain contracts coronavirus this could delay the completion process for at least two weeks.
  • If other professional services are delayed. Here at Bowcock and Pursaill throughout lockdown and beyond we continue to work efficiently, staying connected with our clients regularly. However, other legal offices and estate agents may be working with reduced staff which could hold-up completion or correspondence.

If you have been waiting to move or are looking to sell but are unsure in the current circumstances Bowcock & Pursaill can provide reassurance. Our conveyancing team are at hand to offer expert advice on all residential property matters, assisting a wide range of clients from first time buyers to the experienced property investor. To get a quote simply click here or call 01889 598888 for next steps and guidance on how to progress your move.

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