What will the first part of 2021 hold for the housing market?
There are two key questions which need answering before we can know how the property market will perform, particularly in the first quarter of 2021.
First is, will the market remain open? With daily Coronavirus figures looking increasingly scary and Kier Starmer calling for property viewings to halt, there are rumours the market might be closed.
Personally, I hope not, and bearing in mind the latest news from more stringent rules in Scotland haven’t closed the market, I am hoping the industry can continue.
Why should we continue? There are many key workers carrying out essential activities and putting themselves at risk on a daily basis – and they have been doing that since April. Of course, the main pressure is on the NHS, but also on people in food retailing too, through to essential services such as the police.
For me the home moving sector’s contribution to the Covid crisis is threefold. Firstly, people move for many reasons, but some of the key ones are death, divorce and debt, and there can be no doubt that Covid will have, sadly, increased the need for people to move and put the right roof over their head. Secondly, if home moving doesn’t continue, it’s difficult for construction of much needed new homes to carry on, and finally, while the government is racking up enormous debt, the home moving market is helping to put money back into the economy to help those adversely affected.
I hope that with the guidance put in place last year, the home moving industry can continue to keep everyone safe while buying, selling, letting and renovating a home.
The second question is will SDLT be extended? Much has been reported on the HBSG request to extend/taper the ‘guillotine’ of the 31st March as well as other companies and organisations. And if it’s to have the impact we need, this needs to be announced sooner rather than later. If we can secure an extension, it will help take the pressure off everyone this quarter, especially buyers and sellers, helping to avoid sales falling through if the deadline isn’t met. It would also help to encourage more strong moving activity this year which means we can, as a sector, help deliver more back to the economy.
Advice is fast moving at the moment, but let’s hope, with government support, we can continue to move people smoothly and safely in 2021.
Kate Faulkner is Managing Director of Designs on Property