2020 has been all but normal for the property market. From the downs of the first lockdown – including the halting of all moves and the uncertainty surrounding the economy as a whole – through to the subsequent boom in people seeking more space and wanting to take advantage of the Stamp Duty cut – the year’s events couldn’t have been forecast by even the most astute market commentator.

So with the year coming to a close, what do we know about 2021, and what predictions can we make for the various sectors of the property market?

Residential homeowners

With the Stamp Duty holiday set to come to an end in March 2021, the first quarter of 2021 may well set the pace for the remainder of the year. With those agreeing sales after January being unlikely to benefit from the Stamp Duty saving, it remains to be seen whether the uplift in prices and sales seen in the second half of 2020 will continue, or whether the market will begin to return to more ‘normal’ levels.

There are also the well-reported shifts in people’s desires when it comes to buying or moving home – with a greater demand for properties in suburban and rural areas vs city centres. As the vaccine roll out makes it way through the population, it will be interesting to see whether a widescale return to the workplace diminishes the demands seen in 2020 for homes outside of the city, and how this will impact on prices.

Whether buying, selling, or considering a transaction is relation to a residential property, Lea Hough’s expert team are on hand to advise and provide professional reports, including Valuation Reports, RICS Homebuyer Reports and Building Survey Reports.

First time buyers

First time buyers looking to move into their first home in 2021 may wish to take advantage of the government’s new Help to Buy scheme.

Opening for applications on December 16th 2020, the new scheme applies to purchases that are due to complete from 1st April 2021. The revised scheme, which will last until 2023, limits the price of homes at 1.5 times the average first-time buyer price in different regions in England.  First time buyers will be able to buy with a deposit of as little as 5%, with 20% of the purchase price available in the form of a government loan (40% of the property’s value in London).

As with any transaction relating to a property that uses the Help to Buy scheme, the input of a RICS registered valuer will be required. As a firm of Chartered Surveyors, Lea Hough are able to advise clients in Lancashire on Help to Buy purchases.

Residential landlords

Residential landlords may feel that they had a tough time of it in 2020, with new regulations to contend with and actions to evict tenants in arrears being very limited due to new rules brought in in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Landlords may also have experienced other issues related to the pandemic, including longer periods of unoccupancy.

Furthermore, the trends affecting the residential property industry as a whole – in particular the shift away from city-centre living in favour of more access to outdoor or green space – may have a longer-term impact on some landlords, depending on the make-up of their portfolio.

Regardless of which way the market develops for rental property, Lea Hough are able to advise landlords, particularly in relation to planned preventative maintenance of property portfolios and condition and valuation reports during the acquisition/sale of properties.

Commercial property

Commercial property is set for a turbulent few years to come as the effects of the pandemic play out. From businesses continuing to face financial difficulties and therefore defaulting on leases through to businesses re-evaluating their property needs and looking to reduce the footprint of their space, it is unlikely that wide-reaching stability will return for a while yet. Both landlords and tenants will need to take precautions to reduce any liabilities – including arranging for professional reports such as Schedules of Condition at the start of new tenancies and Dilapidations advice at the end of a lease. 

On the positive side, recent changes to the Town and Country Planning Regulations and the introduction of a new ‘Class E’ of commercial property may allow for greater flexibility for both landlords and prospective tenants, who may now be more easily able to change use within the class without the need for planning permission to be granted.

For more information on any of our services, or to obtain a quote, please get in touch with our team.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
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Telephone: 01254 260196
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Telephone: 01200 320040
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Telephone: 01524 899850
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.