COVID-19 and The Local Property Market
For many homeowners waiting for the right time to move, it has been a difficult decision to make for the past few years. The property market in the UK has been subject to an onslaught of market slowing events with what feels like endless elections, the EU referendum, changes to stamp duty land tax, and then this year to top it all off, the world was pretty much shut down by a coronavirus pandemic from COVID-19.
As soon as the property market was put on pause, the headlines wrote themselves, and the media reported that the property market apocalypse was approaching… but it never arrived.
Then, as the property market opened again, we were warned about how tough it was going to be to sell our properties, so was this prediction right?
Let's take a look at what the data tells us...
The below graph is taken from Rightmove data for the KT7, KT8 and KT10 postcodes which covers Thames Ditton, East and West Molesey, Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Esher (where Newton Huxley sell the most properties).
The local property market was showing very positive signs at the beginning of the year throughout January and into February, with the number of New Listings and Sales Agreed at healthy levels as you would expect to see. Then things began to turn in March as COVID-19 became the focus of everyone’s attention, and finally in April the market stopped almost entirely as viewings and mortgage applications were no longer possible.
In May, we can see the tide beginning to turn with urgent moves progressing and then in June we can finally begin to see what the property market looks like post lockdown… and so far it looks very good!
New property listings are quickly returning to pre-covid levels and as these properties attract the wave of new buyers from Central and South West London, we expect the number of sales agreed to catch up in July.
Our own internal data also shows positive signs for the local property market, with the number of offers received in June being at its highest level since October 2017.
This next graph shows the number of new buyers registering (people calling to ask us to help with their search for a property,) viewings booked, and the number of individual offers received on our listed properties.
Whilst it is too early to know for sure what the long-term impacts of COVID-19 will be on the property market, property transactions in the South East have been stunted since Stamp Duty Land Tax was changed in 2016 (by as much as 30% in our local area), and a bottleneck of buyers waiting for the right time to make their move has been building ever since.
Now interest rates are lower than ever before, and we’ve experienced a genuine public health issue that has had an impact on every single person one way or another. For many this has put things into perspective, and has served as a catalyst to further increase buyer migration out of Central and South West London, with some 51% of buyers that already live in the capital looking to move out.
With so many properties coming to market right now, and with lenders tightening criteria for mortgages, it is unlikely your property value will be shooting up any time soon. Many market reports are suggesting a 0% change in property values this year, and a modest 2% next year. So, if you have been waiting for the right time to move over the last few years like so many others in the KT7, KT8 and KT10 postcode areas, now is the closest you are going to get to the perfect time to finally get moving!