Property markets in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have now been re-opened, while Wales has slightly reduced its restrictions. This means that estate agents are now conducting in-person house-views again, and buyers in most parts of the United Kingdom are able to move home again. Last year, 1,175 million house sales were reported in the United Kingdom, but this figure is expected to fall sharply this year. Knight Frank expects 734,000 moves in 2020, while Savills sets the prediction at 566,000 and 745,000. Rightmove registered about 175,000 ‘missing’ sellers between March and May relative to last year’s numbers but said that the sales accepted were down by just 3% a year earlier. Zoopla, meanwhile, claims that the number of properties for sale has fallen by 15% year-on-year, but that pent-up consumer demand means that transaction numbers are booming in the short term.
How Have House Prices Changed?
It’s still too early to say what, if any effect the coronavirus would have on house prices, and the statistics we see over the coming months are likely to fluctuate greatly. The most accurate barometer of house prices is the UK House Price Index of Land Registry, although this has been discontinued until further notice due to fewer and fewer transactions. Rightmove published its monthly asking price index without a headline in April and May, but in the June index, it stated that the asking prices in England were up 1.9 per cent compared to the period before the lockdown in March. Nationally registered year-on-year house price growth slowing to 1.8 percent in May, while Halifax recorded a marginally higher rise of 2.6 percent.
House Price Predictions For The UK, 2020/21
Experts around the board expect the property market to fall this year, although many think it will bounce back fairly quickly. Knight Frank expects a 3% decline this year and a 5% rise in 2021. Savills predicts that prices fall by 5-10 per cent this year before rising by 4-5 per cent next year. Lloyds Banking Group (including Bank of Scotland and Halifax) estimates that house prices may fall by as much as 5% before recovering by 2% as early as 2021. Zoopla says that the release of pent-up demand could see prices increase by 2-3 per cent in the next quarter, before submerging later in the year. The Reuters survey of property analysts predicts prices will fall by 5 percent this year, before rising by 1.5 percent in 2021 and 3.5 percent in 2022. The Reuters survey of property experts claims that prices will fall by 5 per cent this year, before rising by 1.5 per cent in 2021 and 3.5 per cent in 2022 Economics at PricewaterhouseCoopers say that economic uncertainty will see people moving away from home. This will mean a ‘swift bounce back’ of the housing market is unlikely.
Should You Offer Below The Asking Price?
If you were searching for a home before the lockdown and are now resuming your search, you may be in a good place to make a deal. If the market shifts, buyers will want to check the water by offering properties below the asking price to see whether they can tempt sellers in the midst of confusion over house prices. As previously mentioned, it is likely that house prices will take a fall this year, so if you were thinking of making a move now, it’s important to be mindful that you may not see any financial benefits. When you’re considering how much to offer, do your research and remember that the estate agent works for the seller, so you’re looking to get as high a price as possible. When you are unsure, consider taking advice from another consultant or purchaser’s professional.
How Will House Viewings Work?
After the lockout, estate agents started providing video house viewing, and they’re still going to play a role. The government’s new guidance suggests that buyers can use virtual viewing to browse properties, and can only view homes in-person until they are seriously considering making a bid. In-person observation must be subject to social distance controls. You have to wash your hands before entering your homes to avoid touching the surfaces. If social distancing is not feasible, both viewers and agents will consider wearing a face mask.
Is It Possible To Get A Good Deal On A Mortgage If There Is A Crash?
Since the beginning of the lockdown, the number of mortgage offers on the market has halved, but there’s still plenty of good rates out there – especially if you have a larger deposit. Moneyfacts statistics published earlier this month have shown that the total average mortgage rate has been at the lowest point since it started to keep electronic records in 2007. Deposit buyers of 5 % and 10% were hardest hit by the removal of offers, with nine out of 10 low-deposit mortgages dropping by the wayside. Now that the market has re-opened and in-person mortgage valuations are permitted, but new homeowners and those with smaller deposits are likely to have to wait for the longest to get onto the property ladder.
2021 is looking like a better year to buy if you’re a first-time buyer however property investors may find 2020 to be a great year to find a bargain, especially on property foreclosures caused by the economic downturn. It’s a sad reality of buying lower-priced properties, and it’ll be the perfect time to invest in the run-up to Christmas 2020.