In a year like no other, the UK property markets has faced some of the biggest hurdles in recent memory. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused pockets to tighten across the globe and has forced investment companies and estate agents to adapt to new measures. This has resulted in the market dealing with incredible turbulence over the past 12 months.
The virus has been responsible for several sectors and industries crumbling and has placed considerable pressure on the UK property markets. During the first national lockdown, activity essentially stopped overnight, with property viewings and inquiries dwindling after the government told home buyers to put purchases on hold.
The market quickly bounced back though and returned to expected levels and even exceeded them in some cases. But now the country is in a second national lockdown, and questions are being asked if the industry could survive another onslaught from the virus.
Thankfully, evidence suggests the market has remained completely consistent as lockdown two was implemented.
Unlike in Spring, the UK property markets has remained open throughout lockdown. Property viewings and valuations have all been allowed to continue, as well as construction on ongoing developments. You can still move homes, put them up for sale, and can even view them in-person with applied Covid-guidelines.
Investment companies and estate agents have done a lot to allow this continued activity. They adapted quickly after the shock of the first, and at the time, unprecedented lockdown, with the use of VR viewings.
Many industries have had to adapt to Covid-secure guidelines, but the property market has done exceptionally well. VR viewings have been revolutionary in their appeal, with more people than ever viewing properties from the comfort of their home – a trend that may continue even after lockdown. A property company that has done this particularly well is RWinvest who offer extensive property guides online, as well as virtual viewings if you want to get involved in the UK property markets.
Of course, while lockdown two nears its end, there is no guarantee this is the last we will see of lockdown guidelines. The post-Covid future remains unclear, but we can learn a lot about how the property market will react to future troubles based on its performance during the first lockdown.
No one could have guessed how positive the UK property markets would react to lockdown. House prices are predicted to rocket over the next four years, with a 20.4% increase by 2024. Likewise, rent prices have increased, with the average rent excluding London rising by 4.2% compared to 2019.
Despite increasing costs for tenants, the interest in property is still staggeringly high. A Zoopla report found that demand across the UK rose by 78% compared to 2019. This interest was considerable in Manchester, where the ratio between available rental supply versus demand hit 1:5.
This increase in demand has stemmed from the desire for people to change their homes. With people locked up in their apartments and houses for months, people now want new facilities in their homes. Rightmove found that 37% of residents wish for space to work, 35% want fast broadband, and 31% want a garden. These desires will no doubt continue to rise the longer lockdown lasts, undoubtedly promoting further activity over the next year.
The government has done a great deal to promote this interest by implementing a stamp duty holiday back in July. This saving on tax has helped those with tighter pockets continue to invest.
Overall, evidence shows that lockdown two has had little effect on the property market. The UK, real estate industry, is thriving and will continue to do so, no matter how much the pressure rises.