The End of Year Property Review

Last Updated on : 10th December 2021

Following our Q&A with local agents on the impact of Covid on the housing market earlier this year, we asked them to reflect on the property market of 2021, with its highs, lows and curve balls, and share their predictions for the start of next year, as well as reveal their ‘best in show’ homes – be quick, some are still available!

BEST FLAT

BEST DREAM HOME

BEST FAMILY HOME

BEST INVESTMENT

BEST NEW BUILD

BEST FIRST PURCHASE

BEST FOREVER HOME

How has the market reacted to coming out of lockdown?

 Before and since Lockdown 1.0, buyers have flocked to move into the area for their first family house. However, sellers are more circumspect, bucking the reported London exodus and staying put unless they can find a suitable local upsizing solution (not easy!). The resulting shortage of good quality available properties generally has meant prices have continued to rise. – Austin Thorogood, John Thorogood

I have been working in this area since 1998 and to put it simply, I have never known such high demand for quality family houses. – Joel Baseley, Rampton Baseley

Covid has reshaped how and where many people work and live, which in turn has had a positive effect on the property market as many seek to reflect these changes in their property choices. – Thomas Crabtree, Marsh & Parsons

Coming out of lockdown we saw a lot of activity in the area with owners wanting to sell to buy further out and younger buyers coming into the area. We also saw owners upsizing to get a room they could use as an office as most people started to work from home permanently. We saw prices increase, especially because of the stamp duty holiday, but as soon as it ended, transactions slowed down completely. We are now starting to see more activity again but with more price-conscious buyers. – Medleen Leslie, Portico

What are the main patterns you have noticed?

We have noticed that turn-key properties have become increasingly desirable; the market for newly refurbished stock is super hot. This may have something to do with an increase in build cost, however, the premium for a high-end refurb seems to, in some instances, outstrip the added cost in building works. – Joel

Buyers are aware of significantly increased building costs (due to Brexit and Covid) so there has been an increase in the demand for well-finished properties. – Austin

Most notably we have seen an increase in the demand for more living space and gardens. Properties with office space and gardens have proved extremely popular. – Thomas

The properties with outside space were most in demand. The proximity to the station was less important than before. – Medleen

What changes in behaviour have you noticed among purchasers and sellers?

Unfortunately for the purchasers, competitive bidding has become extremely common. For roughly 50% of our sales, buyers are having to enter an informal tender. Vendors are starting to understand the importance of presentation, it is becoming more common to have properties professionally dressed. – Joel

There has been an acceptance from both buyers and sellers that the transaction process can be slower than in the past, with more thorough survey checks than ever, stringent financial assessments and onerous legal and title checks taking longer with councils etc. An experienced agent has become even more key to help smooth this process to prevent sales and chains falling apart. – Austin

Properties with smaller second or third bedrooms have benefited as these smaller rooms are now seen as desirable ‘work from home spaces’, whereas before buyers would have viewed these more negatively. – Thomas

We saw owners (especially landlords) who have owned their properties for many years taking advantage of the increase and selling up. We saw a lot more first time buyers rather than investment landlords in the area. – Medleen

Who has come off best – buyers or sellers?

It is undoubtedly what one describes as a ‘sellers market’. Who comes off best remains to be seen, it depends if prices continue to increase or not. I wish I knew. – Joel

Sellers have been able to capitalise on record prices due to the low supply and high levels of demand. – Austin

Both! Covid may have increased demand but it’s also increased supply giving people more choice and a better chance of finding their perfect home. – Thomas
Sellers have come off the best as we saw a jump in prices. However, buyers had access to affordable and fairly relaxed mortgages so it encouraged first time buyers to get on the property ladder. – Medleen.

What has surprised you in the last 12 months?

The amount of quality houses that have been sitting on the market because they require what in many cases is minor cosmetic improvement. – Joel

The continued buoyancy of the market has lasted the best part of two years now, in and out of lockdown, and the positivity and demand has been more long lasting than in previous rising markets. – Austin

The continuation of demand beyond the end of the stamp duty holiday. – Thomas

The amount of sellers wanting to move out of London surprised us at first – most employees realised they didnt need to be in London as a lot of companies confirmed their staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future. – Medleen

How do you predict this year will end?

Normally there is a gradual winding down of the market from the middle of October to the Christmas break. The buying appetite is still there so we can tell that December will not be the graveyard shift that it often is. – Joel

People are looking forward to a proper family Christmas this year and there will be a longer holiday period slow down before lift-off again in January. – Austin

It will end well but with far less choice than there was at the beginning of the year. – Thomas

Most vendors are holding off putting their property on the market until the new year, but those putting it on before Christmas will be surprised with the activity as there are a lot of buyers looking but there is a lack of stock. – Medleen

What do you expect to see at the start of 2022?

No idea, it all depends on interest rates, small increases are inevitable, large increases will be damaging to our market. – Joel

With interest rates set to remain low (even with a predicted small rise) and bonuses due in the new year we expect little to change and family buyers to register in large numbers from early in the new year. – Austin

If past markets are anything to go by I expect to see a strong start to 2022 with continued demand met with an increase in supply. – Thomas

As we start to see some normality, we expect to see an increase in prices in the area. With more people wanting to move back into London and with the new tube stations opening in Battersea Park and Nine Elms, it has made it easier for that area to commute into central London. – Medleen

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