OLIVER Gill, valuer and director at Kirkham Property, looks back on a year of big changes and the impact on the housing market as well as our lives.
This year began with Brexit on the national agenda but then became dominated by the coronavirus outbreak which has hugely impacted on all our lives in many ways.
Residential and commercial property markets have been influenced by these changes. So, home buyers, owners, tenants, landlords, businesses and developers should be aware of all the trends, developments and opportunities which have arisen.
First though, let’s again recognise the loss, sacrifices and sheer hard work our community has faced and given this year. Let’s again express our deep thanks to the NHS and other key workers before we discuss the property market. Let’s also be hopeful that progress is on the way with recent breakthroughs on vaccines.
This year’s Covid-19 measures, such as social distancing and lockdowns, has brought huge changes to our economic and social activities – to working life, business, finances, education, commuting, home life, community life, retail, hospitality and leisure. All these changes are influencing the property market but weren’t expected back at the start of 2020.
Let’s have a quick recap. Back in January and February, the year started strongly with properties coming on to the market up by 12 per cent from the same time in 2019. Sales rose by around 15 per cent in early 2020 and the property market appeared to be accelerated by the Brexit effect from late 2019.
Then came coronavirus, bringing disruption but also innovation.
At Kirkham Property, our priority in the first national lockdown was communication with existing clients and progressing sales as far as we could. No physical viewings, valuations or surveys could take place. However, we ran virtual viewings and valuations using technology and social media such as WhatsApp, Zoom and Facetime.
After the first lockdown ended the property market became extremely busy. People had much clearer thoughts about the spaces and environments that are really important to them. Some wanted a garden, a larger property or a proper home office or working space.
We are also seeing people moving from urban to rural areas. More people are moving into Saddleworth to enjoy beautiful countryside, more space and a different lifestyle while still being able to reach towns and cities including Manchester and Leeds.
Finance is more affordable. Interest rates are at historic lows so now is a great time to borrow if you feel secure in employment. The property stamp duty holiday has extended an already strong market.
Property viewings and appraisals are now done at safe distances with viewing times kept to a minimum and no more than two people from the same household allowed to view. We still carry out a number of virtual viewings and appraisals which we expect to continue too.
Kirkham Property’s Saddleworth branch in Uppermill, along with our Chadderton, Royton and Shaw branches, is on-hand seven days a week. We’re here to advise on anything property-related or otherwise (we love chatting about Saddleworth too!)
Our property, legal and financial services will help guide you through these times of change.