Front-view of terraced house
Published on 18th December 2020

Your 2020 property round-up: Looking back at an unprecedented year in the UK market

To say this year has been unpredictable would be an understatement. With Brexit looming and a global pandemic ongoing, the property market in this country has been both challenging and record breaking in equal measure.

Zoopla, one of the largest UK property portals, predicts the run-up to Christmas to be the strongest the market has seen in almost a decade. Sales are expected to spill over into the new year as buyers are racing to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline – 31 March 2021. Zoopla estimates an additional 100,000 transactions to be completed before then.

Gateway Today will return in 2021. Until then, we’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at the Gateway Group. We hope you’re all staying safe and well.

Strong annual growth in house prices

According to Nationwide, house prices rose by 0.9% in November, meaning the annual growth of 6.5% is the highest the property market has seen since 2015. Given the struggles we have all faced this year, including two national lockdowns, this is a truly remarkable feat.

Rediscovering your local area

Rightmove recently published their latest ‘Happy at Home Index’, a survey they conduct each year to determine the happiest place to live in the UK. With average house prices at £413,414, this year it’s the Cornish town of St Ives that claims the top spot.

Tim Bannister, the resident data property expert at Rightmove, believes that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have given the public the time to reconnect with their local communities.

He said “Overall, I think lockdown has enabled people to rediscover what’s on their doorstep and spending more time in their local areas has made people value their surroundings and communities so much more. This year’s study shows a greater appreciation for green spaces and nature, and a strong correlation between people living in coastal and rural areas and how happy people are where they live.”

The fastest selling areas in the UK

In November, Zoopla announced the top 20 areas in the UK where houses are selling the fastest. Falkirk in Scotland is the fastest location, averaging a staggering 20 days between a property going ‘for sale’ to ‘sold subject to contract’.

The Midlands dominated the top 20, with 8 locations accounting for the fastest areas.

  1. Falkirk, Scotland
  2. Waltham Forest, London
  3. Bridgend, Wales
  4. Liverpool, North West
  5. Salford, North West
  6. Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber
  7. Redditch, West Midlands
  8. Bromsgrove, West Midlands
  9. Walsall, West Midlands
  10. Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands
  11. Leeds, Yorkshire and the Humber
  12. Bristol, South West
  13. Dartford, South East
  14. Nottingham, East Midlands
  15. Oldham, North West
  16. Gedling, East Midlands
  17. South Staffordshire, West Midlands
  18. Mansfield, East Mansfield
  19. Trafford, North West
  20. Manchester, North West

Rental trends changing

Finally, The Guardian revealed in November that Britain’s cities have lost up to 15% of their private rentals this year. New data shows that tenants over the past year are beginning to favour rural suburbs and countryside over urban living, creating a glut of properties in some areas and shortages in others.

With COVID-19 causing millions to work from home this year, tenants are reassessing their lifestyles and priorities brought on by the pandemic, with many seeking pastures new away from the hustle and bustle of urban living, commuting and working.

Hamptons figures suggests that renting in inner London is down by 14.9% year on year as landlords slash costs to attract tenants, with reductions of up to £400 on the average monthly rent.

This shift in rental patterns also means that countryside rental costs are now increasing, as Hamptons report a 5.5% average rental increase year on year.

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