Country Estate Agents and indeed Buying Agents have probably just experienced one of the busiest years for a decade.
There was a significant increase in enquiries from October 2019, almost certainly due to the assumption that the Conservative party would win the forthcoming general election in December and that the Brexit position would, at last, be resolved after years of indecision. An outright majority underpinned this, and confidence returned to the UK property market, and in particular the country market.
It seems that many people put a number of decisions on hold during the years following the UK Referendum on leaving the EU and the uncertainty preceding Brexit. Moving home or indeed purchasing a second home was undoubtedly one of those decisions. Many of our clients who have gone on to purchase second homes in the country have done so instead of purchasing holiday homes in Europe and navigating the new restrictions that now go with that.
The market gained momentum and was very encouraging until the UK was locked down for three months in March 2020 due to Covid-19. Despite some negative press articles claiming the housing market was likely to go into freefall, the lockdown actually created pent-up demand from people wanting to move home for all number of reasons, not least from those seeking a new life out of the towns and cities. This demand also came, understandably, from people wanting second homes in the country. As a consequence, the months preceding Lockdown saw demand for houses, at all levels of the market, at a level not seen for many years. In some cases, some unprecedented prices were being achieved.
The SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) holiday certainly helped the lower end of the market which, of course, undoubtedly had a knock-on effect higher up. From the feedback we are getting from our clients, the end of the SDLT holiday period won’t change their decision to purchase and indeed 2021 has seen more country enquiries than ever.
The frenzy of the post-lockdown market has cooled slightly but demand is still way outstripping supply as people re-evaluate their lifestyles. As such, we are confident that that the country market will remain strong throughout 2021.
Over the last twelve months almost 70% of those country properties we have acquired for clients have been deemed as ‘off market’ as more and more people are happy selling without all the fuss of a full marketing campaign. As a consequence, having a buying agent acting on your behalf and unlocking those doors for you has probably never been more important.