The UK housing market is 50% busier than it was this time last year. Figures suggest that there are 140,000 more buyers in the market in 2020, than last November 2019, most of which will be hoping to purchase a home in time to make the most of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Stamp Duty Holiday. The ‘holiday’ is a new government scheme that has reduced property taxes, with some homebuyers saving as much as £15,000. There is also the Help to Buy scheme, which helps first-time buyers get on the property market with very small mortgages, and the Insulation Scheme where homeowners can receive up to £10,000 in vouchers to improve their home’s energy efficiency.

The current demand for homes has consequently formed a rise in UK home prices. There are in the region of 415,000 homes in the process of sale and with prices rocketing, we estimate that the 415,000 homes amass to around £112bn! In September 2020, house prices were the highest since 2017. The average UK house price is now £219,800 (November 2020), approximately 10% higher than this time last year. Surprisingly, it is house prices in northern cities that are being affected the most, with house prices in Manchester increasing by 4.6%, Nottingham 5.1% and Leeds 4.5%.

This may make you wonder, ‘How long will it take to buy a home right now?’. The answer, unfortunately, is quite a while, as estate agents and solicitors are all very busy.  We estimate that from offer-to-completion, it will take at least 100 days. Therefore, if you want to make the most of the Stamp Duty Holiday, you need to be quick, very quick! You can also take matters in to your own hands by contacting sellers directly through Houso where you can arrange a viewing, ask for a virtual viewing and negotiate directly with the sellers. This will help you reduce time by waiting for a third party to do the talking for you.

What is next for the housing market?  We expect the market to calm down at the turn of 2021 when the rush ends. Regarding prices, we do not know what will happen. Covid-19 is different from anything we have ever experienced, and the recession and unemployment may eventually affect the market. Nevertheless, houses have and always will be great investments, and the market appears to be surviving the pressures of Covid-19 so far. Remember that even if house prices drop in 2021, they will always rise back! And as a buyer, it may be wise to make the most out of the available government schemes while you can. They won’t be around forever! Whatever you decide to do, good luck, and use Houso to your advantage to either sell or buy a property and communicate directly through the app to come to an offer much quicker.

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