Property in 2021? Here’s what MIGHT happen next

Posted on 18 Dec, 2020

No one had a crystal ball accurate enough to predict what would happen in 2020 but undeterred, the team at Viewber forecasts the events that may shape property in 2021.

You’ve heard of the saying ‘anything goes’ and as we look forward to the next 12 months after a tumultuous 2020, our predictions could fall flat on their faces! But rather than stare into a very bleak abyss, we are looking at a thoroughly positive 12 months ahead.

Who would have thought the sight of refrigerated lorries would fill our hearts with joy but with millions of vaccine doses winging their way across the country, our nation can start to plan again with a growing degree of certainty – and that means planning property moves.

Busy start thanks to a spike in new tenancy applications

When it comes to lettings, there are indications that the imminent festive period could produce bumper results very early in January 2021. The analysts at Goodlord noted that tenant activity was up in the last week of November 2020, yielding an above average rate of new applications during a traditionally quiet period for agents. Branches will now wait to see if activity builds, although anecdotal evidence from agents suggests renters are confident enough now to secure properties for the New Year ahead. 

New initiatives…or the extension of others?

We expect rising confidence to spill over into the sales market. Although some doubters have muted that transactions will fall off a cliff when the stamp duty holiday ends on 31st March 2021 (no one predicted that initiative this time last year), our shifting priorities and low interest rates will still underpin activity.

And who’s to say the stamp duty holiday won’t be extended or replaced by an alternative scheme? Although we know to expect the unexpected, we can almost certainly bank on the introduction of 5% deposit, fixed-rate mortgages for first-time buyers, as announced by the Prime Minister in October 2020. These should provide a timely boost for the bottom at the property ladder.

International buyers will be back

At the other end of the ladder, international property investors are expected to return to our shores once again. With ‘high value’ business travellers arriving in England now exempt from self-isolation, no matter where they’re travelling from, and the new ‘Test and Release’ system potentially reducing self isolation to five days for other international visitors, London’s prime property market is expected to receive a welcome injection of activity.

House prices – thoughts are divided

While the Nationwide reported annual house price growth of 6.5% to November 2020 - the highest rate since January 2015 thanks to the ‘Boris Bounce’ and another property prediction that even Nostradamus would have to failed to see – a reverse in 2021 is forecast by some speculators. Mortgage broker John Charcol foresees a drop of 6%, although the pessimists at The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) think house prices could fall by 14% in the coming 12 months.

Providing balance, though, are thoughts from agent Knight Frank. It points to a post ‘Brexit bounce’ in Q1 of 2021, and a possible boost from the vaccination programme to carry momentum started by the stamp duty holiday into Q3 and Q4 of the coming year. Fellow agent Jackson-Stops says house prices could rise by 2% - maybe even more if the stamp duty holiday is extended – while the Andrews Property Groups predicts ‘modest’ growth in the first quarter of 2021. Elsewhere, Savills stands by its prediction of a 5% price rise in 2021.

Our property forecasts, like others you will read, come with a huge note of caution. When Brexit is added into the mix, ‘dead cert’ predictions could become meaningless in minutes. What is guaranteed, however, is that Viewber will continue to offer its accompanied viewings and property visit service to all parts of the property industry.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more – or if you just want to muse about the months ahead.


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