UK relocation residential property update for July 2021

Residential property picture in UK during the busy relocation period, as employees and families are on the move, ready for the start of the new academic year. Latest following Nationwide July House Price Index.

Following the Nationwide July HPI published this morning, the following comments are from a selection of experts based around the UK.Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington Property Finders, comments:“The market slipped into modest hangover territory in July, with activity levels cooling and June’s supercharged pace of price growth easing off.“June’s jawdropping 13.4% rate of annual inflation – the highest seen in 17 years – now looks like the Stamp Duty holiday’s last hurrah, with buyers racing to complete before the tax break began to taper away at the start of July.“Stripped of that stimulus, average prices actually fell slightly in July as astute buyers began to ask much tougher questions on price. After six months of seemingly having things entirely their own way as prices rose almost by the week, sellers are finally being forced into a reality check.“Buyer demand is still very strong, but it’s now more measured. Metaphorical queues outside estate agents are shortening, but even with this gentle cooling in interest it’s an extremely busy summer by any normal yardstick.“The property industry is not immune to the pingdemic either, and with agents, buyers and sellers all susceptible to sudden periods of enforced self-isolation, the virus has lost none of its ability to put speed bumps in the way.“Nevertheless the mood remains positive. The further easing of lockdown restrictions has encouraged more sellers to put their homes on the market and the improvement in supply is helping the market achieve a better equilibrium.“While no-one expects the double-digit pace of annual price growth to last, demand remains brisk and cheap mortgages are helping buyers absorb some of the rising costs, meaning market conditions are unlikely to change dramatically in the short-term.”Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country.She said: “Annual house price growth remains at a gallop though it has moderated slightly from last month’s exceptional spike.“While the Chancellor’s tax incentives have begun to taper, a pronounced dip in housing stock means that demand continues to outweigh supply, and this imbalance should continue for some time to come.“Going forward, the market will remain buoyant though the dynamics are already starting to shift.“While the clamour in recent times has been for bigger properties with more outdoor space, we may see luxury apartments start to come back into vogue as the drift back to the office starts to gather pace in the big cities.“In addition, we are still awaiting the return of international buyers which we expect to happen in the autumn, something that should prove a huge boost for Prime London which has been sluggish of late.“In the meantime, first-time buyers finally have grounds for greater optimism as they continue to pay no stamp duty on properties less than £300,000 while others are now paying much more. This means the balance may finally be shifting back in their favour when bidding on more modestly priced homes, particularly with the added firepower of first-time buyers mortgages behind them.”

Property experts from around the country comment

Scott Taylor-Barr of Shropshire-based Carl Summers Financial Services"July has seen a marked easing in activity from the madness before it. That's not to say it is quiet, but rather that it's not as frantic as before, with the reduced Stamp Duty holiday now in effect. Activity is being driven by a broad range of buyers, ranging from home movers and first-time buyers to landlords. The reduced limit of £250,000 will certainly have more of a cooling impact in the South, but further North and in the Midlands the limit is still covering a huge range of property, meaning the reduction has done less to slow activity there. Overall, I'd expect to see a reduction in house price growth as the Stamp Duty holiday unwinds and, without further stimulus, we're likely to see a plateauing of prices towards the end of the year and into 2022.”Robert Payne, co-founder of Bristol-based Langley House Mortgages"The first half of July was noticeably quieter but this happens every year as families prepare for the schools to break up, and then you had the Euros on top. In other words, we shouldn't assume reduced activity levels were a result of the Stamp Duty deadline. The level of enquiries we've been getting has actually increased significantly since then, predominantly among first-time buyers who are finally getting a look in now that the competition has reduced. It's unlikely house prices will continue to rise now that the number of prospective buyers has decreased but there is certainly enough interest to prevent prices dropping as we head into the second half of the year."Imran Hussain, director of Nottingham-based independent mortgage broker, Harmony Financial Services"The main impact of Freedom Day in July has been to fuel demand for property viewings among those who were previously hesitant. The market in July was as busy as ever and with the unprecedented lack of stock, don't expect prices to fall. I can’t see price growth continuing at its recent rate in the second half of the year due to the first phase of the Stamp Duty holiday ending, but the sheer number of first-time buyers will keep prices ticking along comfortably. Mass unemployment when the furlough scheme ends could have a massive impact on house prices so people need to be absolutely sure they're not overpaying on a property."Lewis Shaw, founder of Mansfield-based Shaw Financial Services: "July has pretty much been business as usual and Freedom Day hasn't had any impact so far. People piling into boozers at scale doesn't appear to have impacted demand for bricks and mortar. That said, the rate of price growth has definitely decreased and it's likely to flatline during the second half of the year, partly due to the end of the Stamp Duty holiday, and partly because it is unsustainable. We're seeing more first-time buyers trying to take their first step onto the property ladder because there are currently more high loan-to-value mortgages than there have been for quite some time. First-time buyers are acting now before the window potentially closes.”
Ashley Thomas, director of London-based mortgage broker, Magni Finance: "As expected, the majority of the market has been quieter in July as the Stamp Duty relief has been reduced. However, there is still strong demand for clients looking to purchase a second or holiday home in the country or by the sea. For high net worth clients, in fact, buying a holiday home seems to be a priority. The staycation is here to stay and is set to have a material impact on house prices in the most sought-after areas."Doug Miller, director at Bath-based independent mortgage broker, Lansdown Financial Services: "In July, the demand for properties outstripped supply to an extent I have never seen before. It really is a sellers' market currently, with houses regularly being sold within 24 hours of hitting the market for well beyond the asking price. One estate agent we work with even commented she had no properties at all last week, with some buyers now making offers before they even book a viewing. As we move into the second half of the year, the market only shows signs of heating up. Enquiries for holiday lets in the UK continued to increase across July as the staycation boom looks set to continue well into next year and beyond, while an army of first-time buyers remains desperate to get onto the housing ladder."Rhys Schofield, managing director at Derbyshire-based Peak Mortgages and Protection: "Despite the heat, the property market showed no sign of wilting in July. In fact, with the Euros no longer a distraction, the potential slowdown after the Stamp Duty holiday rush didn't take place. Activity levels are primarily being driven by first-time buyers, many of whom will do their utmost to avoid the punitive rents being charged. Right now, finding a decent rental property can be more cut-throat than the sales market."Director of property investment company Track Capital, said: “It’s a shame that selling property isn’t an Olympic sport, because a British estate agent team would win a clean sweep of the gold, silver and bronze medals with this year’s record-breaking performances.“This minor dip in July is the market taking a breath after the frenetic activity of the previous six months, plus the impact of the stamp duty holiday starting to wind down.“With demand likely to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future, we’re expecting to see prices continue to rise until the end of the year at least.“It’s important to remember that savings from the stamp duty holiday have been far outstripped by the dramatic increase in prices, so some purchases will be a false economy.“If you’re thinking of buying at the moment, it’s worth getting expert advice to make sure you’re not paying over the odds.”
George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents, Radstock Property,:“A cool-down was always on the cards given the unsustainable rate of house price growth over the past year. "That said, don't expect activity levels to drop off significantly during the second half of the year."The transformation in housing preferences due to the pandemic has been less a shift than an aftershock."The pandemic has changed the rules of the game and made people rethink what they want out of a property, and this will continue to drive transactions for some time yet."The increased activity of buyers at the higher end almost certainly reflects the fact that this demographic has been less impacted financially by the pandemic."Equally, it's no surprise flats have lost out to detached and semi-detached homes, which have more outdoor space and an extra room for a home office."In London, we're seeing an exodus from East to West as those in financial services no longer need to be chained to their desks from dawn to dusk. London is officially now a tale of two cities. The only problem is the extreme lack of stock."

Savills upgrades 2021 UK house price forecast

Property group Savills has today upgraded its 2021 UK house price forecasts to reflect the unique market conditions resulting from the extended stamp duty holiday and the impact of repeated lockdowns on what home buyers want from their homes.The firm now expects average UK house price growth of 9.0% across the whole year, based on the incredibly strong first half, which saw values rise by 5.6% on average according to Nationwide.  Forecasts issued before the stamp duty holiday extension anticipated more modest 4.0% growth for 2021.  Further growth of 3.5% is expected in 2022.In the period 2022 to 2025 prices are expected to rise by between 11% and 12%, taking total growth to the end of 2025 to 21.5%, on a par with previous forecasts.  But, Savills says, the shape of growth over the next four years is more difficult to forecast precisely given the extraordinary conditions of the past 18 months. “Some of the growth generated by the extraordinary market conditions of 2020 and 2021 could unwind at times during 2022, but we see nothing on the horizon that would trigger a major house price correction,” said Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research.What is the picture in your region? Let us know how housing impacting relocation in your area.

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