What a return from lockdown it has been for the housing market.
So many factors have almost created the perfect storm for a record breaking few months seeing large buying volumes matched by a wealth of property coming to the market throughout the UK.
The Essex and Suffolk regions have, for as long as I have been selling houses, been seen as a wonderful destination for the semi-retired London buyer looking for a better quality of life and to release equity. At grass roots this last few months we've seen a notable shift in the demographic of buyers coming from the A12 corridor and London suburbs. They have been younger, they have been more affluent and they have been seeking outside space, designated places to work from home all within a reasonable commute time back to London.
The worry of another lockdown and the experiences of the last have certainly brought moving plans to the top of many people's agenda and the raising of the threshold of stamp duty to £500,000 has only extenuated a very busy market place further.
This prolonged period of activity in the housing market has been compounded further by the past three years being consumed with talk of Brexit and uncertainty. Those three years were very low volume in the sales market with many holding off on plans waiting for the right time. They are acting now as are those who were thinking of acting in 2021 but have brought their plans forward to take advantage of the stamp duty relief.
Herein lies the issue if you are on the fence about moving or selling at the moment. All third parties to the sales process, solicitors, surveyors, lenders, search providers and land registry to name but a few are dealing with record levels of activity but with fragmented work teams who are still on furlough or working from home. Many services are bottlenecked and the usual 12 week process of buying and selling is quickly becoming 16 to 20 weeks. It is frustrating for all but this is the new reality we are all trying to navigate.
What we foresee for next year is the usual post-Christmas spike in activity in January 2021. Add that to the backlogged sales progression work happening right now and factor in the rush to complete in March to make the stamp-duty threshold cut off, we're going to be in for a frantic first three months of 2021.
For this reason and to maximise your chances of success to take advantage of a buoyant market and the stamp duty relief, you genuinely must get in before the madding crowd and make you move right now. Whilst there may be an extension to the stamp duty relief deadline you can't bet your home on it and those looking to take advantage of it by moving early 2021 are going to have a difficult time making it a reality.