We’ve compiled a guide for those thinking about moving and why now is the best time to take advantage of the current UK property market.
Despite uncertainties created by and surrounding Coronavirus, there are currently a good number of advantages for buyers looking to make their next move. The pandemic has made many people reassess what they want from their homes, and now is a fantastic time to put those thoughts into action. Here’s what’s changed in the UK property market this year and what those looking to make the move need to take into consideration...
In July 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday until 31st March 2020. This means that buyers do not have to pay stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland, reducing the average stamp duty bill by £4,500. Faith Cook, Sales Director at Winkworth Fulham & Parsons Green expands; “the reduced Stamp Duty is a real incentive as it is a huge saving. Buyers should take advantage of both this and the increased stock levels across the board.” This Stamp Duty holiday is particularly advantageous for first-time buyers whose purchases tend to be under £500,000, and second steppers, who would perhaps not afford to make the next move up without it.
A busy market
Recent months have seen a welcome return to form for the UK property market after the pandemic halted the Boris Bounce felt at the beginning of the year. Matthew Hallett of Winkworth Salisbury says that while no one would have predicted an August housing spike, traditionally a slower period for the property sales market, buyers are now in a strong position. “In the middle of May, house viewings were suddenly possible and this, shortly followed by the amazing announcement of a Stamp Duty holiday, means we’ve seen the busiest August housing market since records began.”
In Fulham & Parsons Green, this busy market is being amplified by the impressive amount of choice currently available for buyers. Faith explains; “there is a huge amount of property coming to the market so buyers have so many options. In fact, I can’t remember the last time buyers have had this much choice.” Faith suggests acting now while a large amount of stock is available - buyers are much more likely to find their perfect property when an abundance of property types are on the market.
If you’ve put off making your house purchase, now may be a good time to invest as reduced pricing has enabled buyers to get more for their money. “In Fulham, we have already seen prices drop substantially from those of 2014/2015. Those who have waited should make the move now and first-time buyers should get on the property ladder, especially if you are buying with a long-term view.” Though Faith suspects that property prices will increase, the market is always subject to ebb and flow; “You can’t guess the market and therefore we believe you should look at it as a purchase that is ultimately going to be your home.”
The countryside boom
While London always has been - and will continue to be - a safe bet for a housing investment, many commutable rural towns and villages have become property hotspots due to more people working from home during the pandemic. “Village houses with home office spaces were the most requested properties during lockdown,” Matthew reveals.
The demand for better quality of life and the rise of the staycation has also played a part, not to mention the financial advantages. “A £15,000 stamp duty saving, record low cost of borrowing and the comparative value for money of rural life is appealing, particularly as working practices change and home working becomes the preferred option over the daily commuter grind,” says Matthew. With corporate companies like Twitter leading the way with flexible working arrangements, this trend looks set to continue as buyers craving more room or outside space make the move to the country.
While no one could have predicted the ebbs and flows of the housing market this year, one thing is clear: now is a brilliant time to purchase a property, whether it’s in the city or countryside.
Here are properties with some great SDLT savings…
Ruthin Road, Blackheath, SE3 - £899,995
As Londoners continue to look for more outside space, this three double bedroom property not only offers its own landscape garden but also close proximity to Greenwich Park. Situated close to highly rated schools, this end of terrace house is perfect for families.
SDLT charges before April 2021: £19,999
SDLT charges post April 2021: £34,999 for those who have previously owned a property.
Contact Winkworth Blackheath or call 020 8852 0999.
Derngate, Northampton - £550,000
This beautiful period home is ideal for those looking for extra space. With five bedrooms in the main residence, and a separate self-contained one bedroom flat in the basement, this home provides families with ample space to relax and enjoy.
SDLT charges before April 2021: £2,500
SDLT charges post April 2021: £17,500 for those who have previously owned a property
Contact Winkworth Northampton or call 01604 204455.
Combe Down, Bath - £475,000
For those looking to take advantage of the SDLT changes, this stunning Grade II Listed cottage located in Bath is perfect. Offering three double bedrooms, a south facing garden and very close proximity to the village centre, this stone built cottage would suit buyers looking to upsize close to nearby conveniences.
SDLT charges before April 2021: £0
SDLT charges post April: £13,750 for buyers who have previously owned a property.
Contact Winkworth Bath or call 01225 829000.
Caversham, Reading - £365,000
A great purchase for First Time Buyers looking to get onto the property ladder, this three bedroom property is located in a quiet cul de sac and is only a short walk from the centre of Caversham. With a pretty rear garden, conservatory and garage.
SDLT charges before April 2021: £0
SDLT charges post April 2021: £3,250 for a First Time Buyer.
Contact Winkworth Reading or call 0118 4022300.
*Calculations based on Freehold, residential purchases made by individuals who will be using the property as their main residence.