This week the UK has begun its journey back to normality with the opening of outdoor hospitality, non-essential retail and personal care services, for a lot of people that meant a trip to the pub for the first time since November. With daily cases back to significantly low and manageable levels and the vaccine in full roll out across the UK, the public can begin to feel safer and get out to enjoy the spring weather but has the last year’s events and lockdown made people revaluate how and where they want to live their lives at home?
The UK property market has been strong for the last 12 months despite the uncertainty surrounding the world with annual price growth at 4.9% in February’s report from Hometrcker as well as a 13% increase in demand for new homes. The stamp duty holiday has allowed for people to take advantage of the tax relief on purchasing homes in the market and encouraged the demand to increase with the recent “budget announcement that the stamp duty holiday on homes costing up to £500,000 will be extended until 30 June, with a tax-free threshold of £250,000 in place for a further three months, has triggered a fresh wave of interest among potential buyers.” People searching for more space after lockdown, the stamp duty tax relief and a lack of supply of housing on the market are the three main factors causing house prices to increase as “ house price growth in the Midlands, north of England, Wales and Scotland is at an almost 10-year high, fuelled by the relative affordability of these markets”.
So where are the hotspots in the UK property market right now? Many areas in the midlands and further North are seeing the highest growth in property prices in the UK as Manchester lead the way with year-on-year price increases of 6.6%. Areas in the north and the midlands offer more space for their money a factor that is affecting the decisions of many homeowners who are considering extra space in and around their house after living in restricted circumstances for the past 12 months. This is no reason to think that City Centre Zones will not see demand as well, as the lockdown measures will be eased, and workplaces get back to full capacity demand for central zones will bounce back and increase due to workers moving back into the area. Reports from Rightmove show that “All of Rightmove’s top 10 latest rental hotspots are within Zones 1 & 2. This is in stark contrast to last August when renters searching in the capital were home-hunting in the outer zones”. This is positive news for owners with buy to let investments who may have been discouraged by the fall in rental prices over the last 12 months however the market suggests demand will surge for properties to rent in city centres by the summer as we get back to normality and workers return to the city and offices.
People have been able to reassess what they want from their homes in the last 12 months due to the pandemic and demand across the country for people looking for more space has seen house prices across the country increase since last year mainly in the north and midlands. However, as lockdown eases more houses will come onto the market and workers can get back in the city the data shows that demand searching for these inner suburbs is outperforming other areas by rental seekers. Over the coming months, the uncertainty of the market will continue however with the stamp duty extension demand will remain high across the country with investors looking to take advantage and increase property prices further.