Post-lockdown expectations

Last week, the property market re-opened after the government eased some of its lockdown measures. This means estate agents are now allowed to conduct physical viewings again and buyers are able to move home.

As a result of this change, all leading estate agents are reporting a significant bounce in online property activity in this last week with property portal Rightmove saying that visits to its website returned to pre-lockdown levels on the day the market reopened, with 5.2 million visitors.

The research arm of the larger agencies have also issued and updated their price forecasts for the year. Knight Frank forecasts that UK prices will fall by 7% this year, but then bounce back by 5% in 2021. Savills latest forecast shows a 7% – 10% fall this year and a 4% rise in 2021. Generally the consensus amongst high street banks is of a reduction of 5% this year with a recovery to follow in 2021.

As can be seen from the statistics released earlier, the market particularly in London had a very good start to the year after a protracted period of uncertainty. Although this momentum has been lost, low interest rates and price opportunity will be the main drivers of renewed investor appetite in the short to medium term.

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Strong performance for London property pre- lockdown

Land registry data (UK HPI) March Av.
price
Monthly
change
12 month
England £248,271 -0.1% +2.2%
London £485,794 +1.2% +4.7%
Kensington and Chelsea £1,396,102 +18% +14.6%
City of Westminster £1,085,013 +11% +13.5%

  • In England the March data shows, on average, house prices have fallen by 0.1% since February 2020. The annual price rise of 2.2% takes the average property value to £248,271.
  • Across England, detached houses showed the biggest increase out of all property types, growing by 2.5% in the year to March 2020 to £379,000. 
  • London experienced the greatest annual price rise, up by 4.7% taking the average property value to £485,794.
  • Hackney experienced the largest annual price increase in London with an increase of 15.1% taking the average property price to £638,683.  
  • The average property price in Fulham is now £747,174 representing an annual increase of 4.3%.
  • In March 2020, the most expensive area in London to purchase a property was Kensington and Chelsea, where the average cost was £1.4 million. In contrast, the cheapest area to purchase a property was Barking and Dagenham, where the average price was £327,136. 
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