The bad news: although it's hard to imagine a more disruptive year than the one we have just had, 2021 is going to be a challenge. The good news: we know what some of those challenges look like.
The country house market boomed in Qs 3 and 4 with buyers fed up in rentals, or wanting more space to facilitate working from home, a larger garden, or to just get out of town. But can we expect that to continue? I suspect not at the same levels as currently but longer term, the demand for good properties in the right locations is always going to be strong.
Today, we know that 2021 brings us:
- the end of the SDLT holiday in March;
- the Government's Help to Buy loan scheme comes to an end for all but first time buyers in April;
- from the beginning of April non-resident buyers will pay an extra 2% SDLT (in addition to the 3% surcharge if they own property elsewhere in the world); and
- the (much extended) furlough scheme is due to end at the end of April.
These events, added to the risk of higher unemployment, lower earnings, higher taxes, possible wealth tax on property, and of course Brexit may well affect housing market activity. It's quite a heady mix but...
With perspective, when we look back in 5 or 10 years hence, 2020/21 will be a mere blip. Historical data proves that the market keeps moving, and us with it.
"The feverish demand in property has stood out in the gloom of the wider economy. After lockdown brought the homebuying process to a near standstill in March, it roared back to life from May..."