Housing Market: 2020 Q1 Analysis

It’s fair to say that the UK entered the new decade with a spring in its step. For years the nation had faced uncertainty with Brexit looming and a government that couldn’t move forward in a united approach. However, the newly elected government gave people the confidence to put this uncertainty aside and hit the housing market hard.

According to the UK House Price Index for January 2020 there was an annual price rise of 1.3%, making the average property in the UK valued at £231,185. What’s more, Yorkshire and the Humber experienced the greatest annual price rise, up by 3.1%. This promising start really got the critics talking and they even coined it ‘the Boris bounce.’

However, despite this increase as we moved into February the average house price in the UK was £230,332 showing that property prices had fallen by 0.6% compared to the previous month, although still positively had risen by 1.1% compared to the previous year.

As we have all learnt a lot can happen in a week and clearly, as the world started to feel the devastating effects of COVID-19 people’s priorities started to shift. The latest data released by the UK HPI says for March on average, house prices fell by 0.2% since February 2020. However year on year there has been a price rise of 2.1%, which currently makes the average property in the UK valued at £231,855.

While this data isn’t all doom and gloom we would, of course, expect to see a bigger decline moving into Q2. When the UK went into lockdown new rules deployed by the government meant that the housing market came to an almost standstill with only existing property transactions allowed to continue, albeit with limitations depending on whether a property was occupied or unoccupied.

With such a promising start to the year, as Rightmove stated before lockdown the number of sales agreed in the year to March 23rd were up 11% compared to the same period last year, which was the best start to a year since 2016, there’s a lot of speculation within the industry as to what the knock-on effects the virus will have on the economy, not to mention the housing market.

Luckily since Boris’ big announcement, 10th May, whereby he discussed phasing England towards its road to recovery the housing market was officially back open for business on 13th May. Again this isn’t entirely restriction-free and doesn’t fill the void in the market while the stricter lockdown measures were in place during April to mid-May, however, initial reports indicate that there’s still a strong demand for housing sales and purchases.

Only time will tell what true impact the virus has had on the market and many variables will impact the long term outcome on the including the unprecedented low-interest rates set by the Bank of England, unemployment levels as well as mortgage availability. We hope that whatever happens we can continue to help guide our customers through their property transactions as quickly and stress-free as possible.

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