Garrington Property Finders: A year of two halves?

A country house behind a stone wall with a brown gate

The early signs are that there is light at the end of the tunnel (photo credit: Steve Heap/Shutterstock) - Credit: Shutterstock

As we enter the second half of 2021 Jonathan Hopper from Garrington Property Finders predicts how the property market will perform in the coming months 

For many people, moving home is the largest financial decision they are likely to make and any uncertainty is unwelcome when making such an important decision. The mixed messages being received on the state of the economy and the easing of local restrictions leaves buyers navigating a continuously changing market.

There is every reason for buyers to be optimistic and the early signs are that there is light at the end of the tunnel, with indices such as the PwC Consumer Confidence Index reporting its highest level since 2008. So far this year thousands of homebuyers have flocked to the market, resulting in a shortage of properties for sale and prices in many areas rising at an accelerated rate. 

Equally, reports of new COVID-19 variants and the potential for local lockdowns has had a sobering effect on people’s mindsets. Nonetheless, many buyers remain committed to progressing their plans, a core of whom have waited for the frenzied market, seen in the first half of the year, to cool down and are now becoming active. 

When is it a good time to buy?  

The original planned ending of the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday on March 31 was feared to be a ‘cliff-edge’ for the property market but instead, this perk has now been smoothed into a ‘double speed bump’ over the coming months. No doubt this significant tax break has played an important role in fuelling the market, but it is unlikely to be extended further. On property values up to £500,000 the temporary tax holiday has had more of an impact on the market, whereas in the prime markets, while any saving is always welcome, it has been less of a deciding factor. Reassessment of life and housing requirements has a far greater bearing on decisions to move. 

Add to this the hope and belief that we’re returning to normality, the active return of the more mature ‘double vaccinated’ homeowners to the market, and continued low interest rate environment, we predict a fast paced, but no longer frenzied, market in the second half of the year. 

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With a less frothy marketplace and prices predicted to rise, there are few reasons for buyers to hang back.

Navigating a challenging market

With properties selling so quickly, sealed bid scenarios becoming commonplace and the continued challenges of accessing the best properties, many buyers are feeling the need to introduce the word ‘compromise’ into their buying vocabulary. Those struggling to secure a property are increasingly choosing to widen their search area, accept a less than perfect property or even consider looking at lower-value properties to enable them to compete with other buyers on price. Indeed, most properties are now being sold for their asking price or above, so viewing only those at the top end of the budget range is likely to lead to repeated disappointment.

Acquiring off-market properties 

In the coming months, we are expecting to see more off-market sales as this selective invitation-only means of selling is increasingly being adopted by many sellers. This method of sale provides vendors with more control of proceedings and pricing. Therefore, it is increasingly valuable for buyers to have a buying agent on their team to introduce them to such opportunities, advise on offers and broker an agreement. Buying successfully off-market is not always about price, and a professional buying agent can help to distinguish other factors that may be pertinent to a seller in order to reach a deal. 

With a buying agent on side, there is often a competitive advantage through access to more opportunities and professional guidance; this will help people to buy in a calm and planned fashion, enabling them to make certain plans in an uncertain world. 

Garrington’s consultants help buyers find and purchase properties that meet their lifestyle requirements. Their local expertise and in-depth knowledge of the property market assists homebuyers to consider a wider choice of properties and purchase more effectively.

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