Current guidance indicates the property market is set to remain open for business during the latest lockdown.
And so the rollercoaster of the 2020 property market continues.
While guidance around the impending Lockdown 2.0 is still a little unclear, the government seems keen to keep the property market open.
It appears the government are allowing, subject to safe working practices, viewings and valuations to take place, unlike earlier this year where these were prevented and accordingly, we saw the industry grind to a halt during the depths of April and May. Surveyors, cleaners, tradesmen and other ancillary services to assist house moves are also seemingly permitted to continue working during the national lockdown.
Pent up demand from Lockdown 1.0, the Stamp Duty holiday and a shift in client’s priorities have all contributed towards the surge we have experienced in Q3.
Since the market re-opened at the beginning of summer, and Rishi Sunak unveiled the Stamp Duty Holiday, transactions have been coming in thick and fast. We have seen clients offer over asking price; enter into bidding wars and lock out agreements; and the residential real estate team have been instructed on a high volume of 2-10 day exchanges.
With just 7 weeks to go until 25th December, we are now entering into that time of year where the magic words, ‘I would like to be in before Christmas’, are heard more frequently. It seems less likely that conveyancers will experience the usual pre-Christmas rush this year. However, some clients have outlined their strategy: should their current purchase fall through, they anticipate having enough time to find another property and still complete prior to the 31st March 2021, taking advantage of the potential £15,000 savings on Stamp Duty.
The team here are instead therefore anticipating a New Year rush. While overseas buyers are not as prevalent in the prime central London market as we had previously seen due to travel limitations, of late, we have dealt with Middle Eastern and Far East (mainly Hong Kong) buyers exchanging and completing on substantial property purchases having only viewed the property virtually from across the globe.
London appears to remain a safe bet for both international and domestic clients. The combination of the Stamp Duty holiday and the 2% Stamp Duty increase set to come into force for overseas buyers from 1 April 2021, mean that we are still seeing international activity despite the geographical restrictions.