The property market appears to be at a crossroads, figures released this week show that property values fell for the fourth straight month in June, the last time that occurred was in 2010 during the financial crisis. However, agents would all rally with the cry that they have never been busier since the relaxation on lockdown restrictions on Wednesday 13th May.
Property values in June were 0.1% lower than in May according to figures from Halifax. The fall last month followed month-on-month price falls of 0.2% in May, 0.6% in April, and 0.3% in March.
Add to the mix that mortgages searches rose 100% in June compared to the previous month exceeding one million for the first time since lockdown began and predictions that property prices are set to rise in July and August with some predicting that the North will enjoy the most upward movement in prices with the capital the weakest.
HMRC figures showed a 50% drop in the number of property transactions year-on-year, this unsurprising as many deals will only now be filtering into the system following the market restart.
Typically, June is the strongest month for mortgage activity in the UK but nothing about 2020 is typical and consumer confidence is key to many areas of the economy.
Sally Hart, Head of Agency, said: “The UK housing market is finely balanced as is much of the economy but all of our regional teams are still reporting that demand is outstripping supply at the moment and that both buyers and sellers are optimistic in their approach to the market”.
The announcement yesterday that Stamp Duty will temporarily be cut with immediate effect so that between now and 31st March 2021 most transactions below £500,000 will not be subject to a charge, a move which should result in up to 90% of transactions paying no Stamp Duty during this period (note that second homes, etc are still subject to additional uplifts over standard rates).
“Rishi Sunak has the unenviable task of ‘unlocking’ the economy and how he approaches that will be crucial to the property market” continues Sally.
The next three months will be key for many sectors and are likely to be a significant indicator and the basis for both households and businesses to set their plans for the immediate future.
Sally comments: “Housing activity has already rebounded strongly since the market reopened and with mortgage lenders increasing the number of products and the announcement today on Stamp Duty we are confident that the property market will respond positively, it may not lead to a greater number of transactions that the market would typically see overall but it will encourage those currently wavering to have the confidence to step into the market sooner”.
If you are considering placing your property on the market and would like advice please contact your regional team today:
Northumberland & Borders – 01665 603581
County Durham – 01833 690390
Yorkshire – 01677 425301