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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Yoo Capital raises £200m for London centric property fund

Yoo Capital Investment Management (Yoo Capital), has confirmed the first close of its second fund. The firm now has access to £200 million in new capital to deploy.

With a fund raising target of £400m, Yoo Capital Fund II (HCFII) is the first in a series of funds launched in partnership with global institutional investor Astarte Capital Partners. 

The Fund will target mixed-use, leisure, healthcare and life sciences real estate assets, predominantly in Central London. Yoo Capital Management has so far invested in $2.0 billion of AUM representing over 2.7 million square feet of development across Greater London which includes the transformation Olympia London into a world-leading cultural destination.

YOO is a global brand of real estate developers and designers founded in 1999 by international property entrepreneur John Hitchcox and celebrated designer Philippe Starck.

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Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair to offer £650 a night rooms for free to NHS staff.

Free accommodation has been offered to NHS workers by Claridge’s hotel to help staff unable to live at home during the coronavirus pandemic. The five-star hotel said it opened its doors to 40 doctors, nurses and other key staff based in London from Friday 3 April.

‘Just as it has in the past world wars, Claridge’s has a duty to step up and support the people of London,’ says Paddy McKillen, Co-owner, Maybourne Hotel Group, adding that, ‘Teams from all our hotels have volunteered, and we are honoured to help and support the dedicated NHS workers at this critical time, we are forever in their debt.’

The Maybourne Hotel Group may also offer free accommodation to the NHS in its two other hotels in central London.

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The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) calls for a Stamp Duty holiday to assist a post-pandemic housing market.

The March 2020 RICS UK Residential Market Survey results highlight that despite the first few months of the year showing a marked pick-up in market activity, this month will have a significant impact on the outlook for the rest of the year.

Hew Edgar, RICS Head of Government Relations commented: “RICS is not an organisation that would call for a stamp duty holiday on a whim, and indeed our view prior to Covid-19 was that it required a full-scale review. These are exceptional circumstances and the Government will need to consider all avenues that could feasibly rebuild confidence, bridging the gap between uncertainty and recovery”.

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