Now, it's not unusal for an Estate Agent to be talking up the market - we  respect that and we're not of the mind to ever heighten expectation but we do have some good news.

At grass roots level, the return to service following the lifting of lockdown restrictions has seen a significant increase in activity in the sales market. What I find quite ironic were the predicted 10% to 30% drops in house prices over the course of the next year reported widely through the usual market commentators. We have seen demand for appraisals rocket (to three times the levels at the end of 2019) and sales are being agreed in correlation. 

I'm under no illusion that we have been riding the crest of a wave this last few weeks. People have been confined to their homes in an unprecedented way, they have realised their home's short-commings and thought about their aspirations. Throughout this last few weeks there has been a willing to get things done in this new market now with the fear of a possible second lock-down at the end of the year and all the implications that brings looming. Whether this materialises or not depends on us all and we shall see.

The start of 2020 saw the sale market explode into life and we must remember the frightfully low levels of transactions during the Brexit negotiations and this renewed activity was the response to 'light at the end of the tunnel', a long, drawn out dark tunnel. People wanted to move but had held off due to that uncertainty and, in turn, sprung into life in January. I can tell you now that here are still many of those who have waited and waited and want to move. I suspect now is their time.

What's driven the market in the last eight weeks apart from the fear of lock-down is the mass exodus from our larger towns and cities. Never have we seen so many Londoners look favourably on our accessible and commutable Tendring and Colchester housing stock. We've always been a strong retirement destination for this type of buyer but here are the new wave of buyers, the youngsters with the get up and go, disposable income and the willing to commute to their well paid city jobs fed up with their crammed in living accommodation and their lack of outside spaces. Sadly for our local first-time buyers, these well paid first timers have the means to support an entry level purchase some of our local first timers can only dream of.

So the market has been good here since our return but the specualtion has been 'how long will it last' and we too have brought into the possibility that when leisure and retail industries lose their government underpinning and the Furlough schemes end, that's a time when we might feel the real effects of the COVID fallout in the wider economy.

But... action has been taken to spur on the market today.

The government have today raised the threshold of stamp duty to £500,000 and this is going to have a significant affect on confidence, volumes of buyers and volumes of transactions.

Did we need this? Short-term no. Longer term perhaps we do.

The last stamp duty holiday brought significant interest to the market. Listings and sales volumes spiked and we expect this to result in exactly the same. Offers will strengthen and dare we say it... if we see sustained volumes of buying and limited supply... the market has the opportunity to see rising house prices. This won't be immediate but the potential is there. Buying power will have increased along with the volumes of buyers interested in the market.

This does come with some danger however. Come March 2021 this will end and buying will drop off in the 6 to 8 weeks leading up to the end of the stamp duty threshold holiday. Following on from that will be the readjustment to the new normal of paying stamp duty - it is a significant cost to factor into any would be move and a barrier.

So the time really is now. Make hay while the sun shines, there are so many factors at play offering a potntially positive outlook for the housing market for the next 9 months. If you have been waiting, now really is the time to unleash the shackles and make your plans become a reality. We've never been so busy, our rebrand is being so well recieved and we are growing rapidly. This has all been built on a quality product that you can rely on and we'd be delighted to give you realistic advice on how to make your move happen. It's an ever-changing environment and we're always at the front end of it.