In June 2020, we looked closely at the Guernsey property market post Covid-19
At that point, we were full of hope that with the guidance from the Director of Public Health and support from our community, we would see an upswing in market activity in the subsequent months. It is fair to say that our expectations have been exceeded.
As a property practice, we have had an exceptional summer. We have enjoyed the property bounce-back since lockdown, with an increased number of instructions.
Those instructions have been varied, from million-pound plus properties, to assisting first-time buyers in getting onto the property ladder.
The levels of local market activity have been increasing, and we are yet to see any sign of a slowdown.
Open market sales still have a little way to catch up, but with the current efforts being made to facilitate safe viewings and allowing potential off-island buyers to travel (without the need for mandatory self-isolation provided their travel is carried out in a controlled environment), we are confident that open market activity will be more buoyant.
Property in England and Wales
Similarly in England and Wales, the housing market is enjoying a post-lockdown ‘mini-boom’.
This has been fuelled by the stamp duty ‘holidaymakers’. The window for taking advantage of the Stamp Duty Land Tax cut is currently open until the end of March 2021. Realistically speaking, however, only the properties which are on the market now, or imminently coming to the market, stand the best chance of being snapped up quickly by the flurry of fresh buyers who are keen to capitalise on the SDLT savings.
Homes throughout England and Wales are coming to market, again creating a noticeable surge in activity. This is propelled further by the change in consumer appetite for properties with a home office, garden and flexible space. The lively property market has been widely welcomed, and is a much-needed stimulant for the post lockdown economy.
What is the shape of things to come?
Working from home and flexibility will continue to be a driving factor in the property search for housing markets in Guernsey and in the UK.
Additionally, the Guernsey market may further benefit from the overall global perception of being a safe and welcoming place, with a stable economy and first class management from the States of Guernsey in handling the Covid-19 situation.
In England and Wales, remote and flexible working and the SDLT holiday will continue to play a very important role in stimulating the property activity. However, some potential buyers may still be concerned about the resurgence of Covid-19 in the autumn, and may choose to hold back and ride it out until the end of 2020 before committing. For others, the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October could be a concern.
Although it is yet unclear what the ‘new normal’ actually means in property terms (in Guernsey or elsewhere), any activity that makes a positive contribution to the situation is to be welcomed.