My old friend Phil Spencer was kind enough to ask me to join him in Lockdown 3 and to look at the year ahead for his clever MoveIQ business. Together we agree (about how important it is that buyers get more support), disagree (about the Stamp Duty holiday) and shoot the breeze about the business we are both passionate about and the things that we think matter for those buying and selling properties during such uncertain times.Continue Reading

Can you view houses in lockdown? The government says people are allowed to view properties during the lockdown in England. It encourages buyers to do their initial property searches online and advises that initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible.  For viewings taking place in person, the government says these should be arranged by appointment only and “open house” viewings should not take place. It advises people who are viewing properties in person to wear a face mask, avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, wash their hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser.  The government says people should also observe social distancingContinue Reading

A tad dramatic, perhaps but if you are looking for a new home and feel like there isn’t much choice at the moment then that’s because there isn’t. The three Lockdowns in England mean that a lot of homes that would have been put up for sale haven’t. Some sellers are worried about the bio-security implications of having strangers walking around their home. Some have simply followed the Government advice and don’t consider their move as ‘essential’. Today there are even some estate agents who don’t want to open up to help buyers and sellers to move. I monitor theContinue Reading

An annual property tax set at 0.48% of the value of the home is being floated by a Think Tank close to the Treasury according to The Sunday Times. While there will be no radical change to property taxes in this budget according to Tim Shipman, ministers and officials are looking at the tally of winners and losers from the abolition of council tax and stamp duty. They would be replaced with a Proportional Property Tax, levied on the existing values of homes. Council tax is calculated on property valuations from 1991. The consultancy WPI Economics, which is led byContinue Reading

Lots of people calling for the Stamp Duty holiday to be extended despite the Government stating that they won’t indeed the Telegraph have started a campaign. When ig was originally announced in July last year it was clearly signed that it would end in March 2021. Estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage brokers have all called for an extension and there have even been petitions to Parliament. I have argued before that it wasn’t needed, sales in July 2020 were already up to 80% of their usual monthly total despite the Lockdown in March and prices ended the year ironically up 7%Continue Reading

The UK Government has announced a third Lock Down with similar restrictions on movement and on businesses as in March last year. In England, the housing market remains open, you can buy and sell, let and rent and estate agents can remain open and operational. Some things will be difficult, conveyancing, valuations, surveys.. there will all be more complicated to arrange and so people should expect transactions to take longer. Once again I am running my free, 30 minute Covid Clinics. If you have a question about buying or selling, renting or letting then please get in touch and weContinue Reading

Last January the BBC repeated it’s annual round of house price predictions. This year they have sensibly decided not to repeat the exercise. Turned out we were all unable to see what would happen to house prices despite a number of experts changing their predictions (in some cases several times) during the course of the year. According to Nationwide, house prices rose 7.5% in the year to November. I doubt that this will stop everyone from voicing an opinion but I think it’s pretty clear that nobody knows what might happen to prices or to the other elements that fascinateContinue Reading

The Chancellor, ‘Dishy Rishi’ presented his Spending Review this week and the Office for Budget Responsibility has published their latest Economic and fiscal update. The section on housing is interesting as the Office has updated their views on both transaction numbers and prices. House prices are expected to fall back in 2021 – by 8% perhaps, driven by end of the stamp duty holiday and the hit to household incomes from the labour market adjustment that we assume will follow the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  The stamp duty holiday has added further impetus to transactions, though thereContinue Reading

The housing market in England is to remain open during the four week lockdown. The Housing Secretary confirmed the news on Saturday evening via Twitter, some hours after Boris Johnson announced the lockdown. Current Government guidance from August, says: “The process of searching for and moving into a new home is different because property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19. These changes could include doing more online, such as offering virtual viewings; vacating your current property during viewings; and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in. “We encourage all parties involved to be asContinue Reading

The annual FT Weekend Festival went virtual this you and I joined Aneisha Beveridge, Hamptons research director, Nathan Brooker, FT House & Home deputy editor to discuss the strange 2020 housing market and what the future might hold. One of the most popular sessions of the three day event I’m told was referred by James Pickford, FT Money deputy editor. Writing in the paper this week James has brought together much of what was said and given some helpful context to the points we made asking “Is now a good time to buy a home?”. Talking about the much-trumpeted StampContinue Reading

Since the market re-opened (in England on 13th May) we’ve had lots of anecdotal indications on what is happening to the housing market and more importantly to prices and we’ve had some detail on asking prices but we have yet to see any concrete data on what buyers have been offering and more importantly what sellers have been accepting. Data out the week from Rightmove confirms that asking prices slipped back nationally when compared to last month but they are over 4% higher than there were a year ago The UK House Price Index for May 2020 (which includes estimatesContinue Reading