One thing that has proved to be resistant to Covid19 is the property market, which has if anything fed off the pandemic.
Looking back at the spring lockdown, it seemed to act as an incubation period as coronavirus fuelled people’s desire to move to larger homes, often in more relaxed locations.
Now we are faced with an open-ended second lockdown that will affect individuals, families, many businesses and our way of life. The question is what will happen to this bull property market that, according to Nationwide, has seen prices growing at their fastest rate for five years?
One area of public and commercial activity not to have been locked down this time is the property market. So the answer seems straightforward; it will be business as usual – with all the necessary social distancing measures adhered to of course.
We know that these extraordinary market conditions can’t last forever. But these second-wave precautionary measures might even act to further fan the flames of the current market.
Completion by Christmas is often the aim when buying or selling property in the autumn. But now there is another target date, March 31st: this is the day the stamp duty relaxation measure is due to end. Buyers will be racing to find properties and complete purchases to avoid extra expense – money they could use for deposits or improvements to their new homes.
Of course, the Chancellor may postpone the cut-off date, or best of all discontinue this unpopular and opportunistic windfall tax altogether. But if he does neither strap yourself in - it’s going to be a hectic five months.
Fortunately, if there is one thing we learned how to do during the initial lockdown it was to work successfully in a highly unusual and demanding property market. Now we will continue to use that experience to ensure that our buyers and sellers can move, not just when they want to but also when they need to.