So far it is safe to say 2020 has been the most unusual year that I can remember! Unsurprisingly this makes people start asking one of the most popular property questions, how is the property market, are prices falling?
The year began buoyantly after we agreed the Eu divorce last year (at least partly) and we saw prices rise around Clapham as there was a high level of demand and not enough stock; an ongoing problem for the past few years. We began the year taking on several new instructions and agreeing several good sales.
There was obviously talk of Covid 19 in January and February, but it still seemed like with many other previous virus scares, it would not affect our way of life around the U.K. Then in March it became clearer this was going to cause more of an impact for our ourselves and we went into a national lockdown and the property market was closed, a once in a lifetime event.
When the market re-opened in mid-May there was obvious uncertainty about how it would re-cover. Happily there was a lot of pent up demand after the months not being able to move and with the continued lack of stock we saw high levels of transactions in June and July and prices slowly creep up by a few percent around Clapham and surrounding areas.
This was certainly not surprising as South West London generally bucks the trend compared with other areas as has been the case over the years. Then in July the stamp duty holiday was announced until next March; the aim to get the property market booming again. Obviously, this was seen as very positive news and we immediately saw a dramatic increase in stock levels as buyers and sellers hoped to take advantage of the potential savings.
As we move into Autumn we have started to notice that the stamp duty holiday has actually turned the property market from a seller’s market, into a buyer’s market, with the significant increase of stock levels causing a reduced demand and buyer’s having more choice.
Lockdown has also meant buyers are keen to secure some sort of outside space meaning properties without have had to reduce their prices to try and make them more attractive. Vendors have also had to reduce prices to compete against similar properties in the area and we have now probably seen prices come off a few percent since August. Obviously the continued pandemic and possible economic uncertainly does not help the market, however at present we believe the current change from a sellers to a buyer’s market is mainly being caused by the stamp duty holiday causing a higher level of stock on the market.
As previously stated South West London tends to recover from any blips very quickly and while it is difficult to predict where the housing market will be in early 2021, we expect to see a positive 2021 with stock levels possibly dropping and demand increasing again.