Since the end of lockdown, Zoopla has reported that larger, more rural properties are in higher demand and are selling much faster than in previous years. Many buyers are now prioritising space over commuter convenience. Work from home space is becoming increasingly popular.
With more people not returning to the office, and working from home becoming more of a reality for the foreseeable future, the behavioural shift is another factor to consider for this increase. People have reassessed their lifestyles during lockdown, and it is becoming less necessary to live close to the workplace.
The length of time a property is on the market has decreased significantly to 27 days, as opposed to 39 days at the same time last year. What’s more Zoopla reported that “four- and five-bed houses are selling 33% faster than in 2019, as buyers prioritise more space and widen their search criteria – migrating away from the more expensive cities, suburbs and commuter belts while enabling their budgets to stretch further.”
Flats and properties aimed at first-time buyers are currently the slowest to sell.
As a result of the “mini-boom”, property value is up by 1.6% in July, which means that the annual rate of growth increased to 3.8%. Zoopla’s forecast says that house prices will end the year 2-3% higher than at the start.
Previously, it was thought that the stamp-duty holiday would have encouraged more people to to buy second homes or move from their current locations, due to the overall potential saving of up to £15,000. In addition to stamp-duty holidays, many home-owners have taken advantage of the mortgage holidays offered by the government. According to The Guardian, about two million people have taken advantage of the mortgage holiday which is equal to 1 in 6 mortgages.
Applications under the mortgage holiday scheme are being accepted until the 31st of October. Lenders, however, are being encouraged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to continue being patient with borrowers, assess individual circumstances and “support their customers through a period of payment difficulties”.
Charlotte Nixon, mortgage expert, says that “the guidance is clear that the onus is still very much on lenders to help customers get through this difficult period.”
These holidays have resulted in many people saving a lot of their money which would normally be put towards their properties. Zoopla has acknowledged that the property market could be “challenged” as the schools reopen, the furlough scheme and other government support draw to a close.