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UK Property Market

We have been moving in very different property realms since 2020. Brexit had been the main concern, with worries about job security and trade agreements, but a much bigger news story was waiting in the wings.

“The start of the Covid pandemic resulted in a re-evaluation of priorities,” says Open property Group’s Jason Cohen. “The precipitated moves that had been years in the thinking and caused some knee jerk reactions, among others. Gardens and home offices became hot property, while traditional ‘must haves’, such as walking distance to public transport, became less important.”

The ‘race for space’ was exacerbated by the stamp duty holiday, during which buyers could save up to £15,000 in stamp duty costs. Running at the same time was a historically low interest rate, which paved the way for very affordable borrowing.

With the pandemic heading for endemic status in the future and a relaxing of many restrictions, the UK feels as if it is getting back to a sense of normality, so what does that mean for the property market?

“I suspect this year will see a return to what we call ‘seasonal selling’”, adds Jason. “There may not be the week-on-week frenzied buying activity seen during the last 18 months. Instead, we will return to peaks and troughs – quiet summers but more movement around Easter and in September. We’re also watching the interest rate, noting that lenders are super quick at raising rates when the Bank of England does – or even at the mere speculation of a hike.”

What type of house seller are you?

The house seller with a lack of viewings and no offers

With less urgency to move in 2022’s residential market, the sellers left may suffer from a lack of interest - pent up demand has already been released. Sadly, the longer a property remains unsold, the more buyers are likely to think there is something wrong with it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy but the cycle can be broken by selling to a cash buyer, such as Open Property Group.

The seller who’s found their dream home….but not sold

If you have done what’s not advisable in property – offered on your dream home before selling where you currently live – you may find yourself under pressure from your onwards vendor. If you need to sell property fast, prove you are committed to a purchase and see off rival buyers, opt for a cash buyer who will become the reliable bottom of your chain and allow you to move on chain free.

The seller who’s selling a property they don’t live in

A probate property, an investment property or a family home that’s part of a separation process - there are times when the resolution is much more important than the price it’s sold for. Using a High Street agent can be a time-consuming and very public exercise, whereas selling to a professional cash buyer is very discreet. When selling to Open Property Group, there are no ‘for sale’ signs, no viewings, no chain and no estate agents involved.

Expert Opinion

“The year ahead will see us returning to a more normal pace of buying and selling activity. There is a word of warning for landlords, however. “Buy-to-let owners are facing mounting compliance and new, harsher minimum energy standards – both of which are costly and stressful aspects. Also on our watch list is inflation and expected interest rate rises. If the cost of living keeps rising alongside interest rates heading upwards, we may see more property owners downsizing or releasing equity, reduce running costs and increase disposable income.”

Mini-FAQ’s

Will it be easier or harder to sell my house fast now the stamp duty holiday has ended?

There’s no avoiding the fact that many buyers took action in 2021 while they could still save up to £15,000 in stamp duty fees. With no planned discount in 2022, some movers will debate whether they can afford to buy a new home, and this could lead to a drop in buyer numbers.

Do you expect house prices to continue climbing in 2022?

Reports from a cross-section of the property industry suggest that prices will continue to creep up in 2022 but we will not see the same runaway appreciation seen in 2021. Prices are forecast to rise by around 2% but there will be regional exceptions. However with so many international issues ongoing, this is a much debated question.

Where did properties sell the fastest in 2021?

Focus shifted away from London, with more homebuyers looking north. Property for sale in Wigan sold the fastest in 2021 – taking just 26 days to find a buyer. Redditch in the West Midlands, Knowsley, Salford and Sheffield were all close behind, all taking an average of 27 to be marked as ‘sold, subject to contract’.

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