In this three-minute read, we look at the key themes that emerged in the UK property market in 2020.
2020 is the year things went nuts in the property sector, with activity in Oxfordshire and the rest of the country screeching to an abrupt halt for several weeks, before blasting back into action as buyers emerged from lockdown with a new set of priorities.
Here are four talking points from the year.
1. Race for space
Lockdown 1 served as a turning point for many people who, after spending months cooped up with their nearest and dearest, decided that it was time to get out of town. Demand for homes in places like Central London dropped and interest in country and coastal properties spiked.
Many of those heading for the hills and beaches were families looking to upscale to a home with a bigger garden, more bedrooms, and easy access to the great outdoors.
The super-rich got in on the act too, with Savills selling at least 21 rural estates each valued at £15m plus.
2. Working from home/end of the commute
2020 is the year working from home (or WFH if you like acronyms) went mainstream. Covid-19 meant that bosses who suspected staff would bunk off if they weren’t in the office had to embrace WFH. What did they discover?
Many were surprised to find that productivity didn’t nose-dive; in fact, some workers got more done. Meanwhile, employees gleefully ditched the commute and spent more time doing the things they love at home.
As a result, enquiries from people looking for properties with dedicated office space or bedrooms that could serve as a home office increased.
3. Outdoor space
Even buyers who didn’t want to hotfoot it to the countryside, wanted outdoor space, be it a courtyard, a roof terrace or access to a communal garden.
In May, Rightmove reported searches for homes with gardens increased by 42% – a trend that has stayed strong.
When the market shut down in March, many predicted the consequences would be dire. It certainly was challenging for the industry, but the market has proved to be incredibly resilient.
At the start of December, property prices in the UK were growing at their fastest rate since 2016. The average cost of a UK home rose by 6.5% this year (figures: Nationwide).
What’s in store for 2021?
As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout gathers pace, things might return to ‘normal’ in some ways, but it’s unlikely that they will go back to what they once were.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of office-working, but a less rigid approach to the way we work seems here to stay.
As a result, many property experts predict demand in prime outer London and regional markets will continue in 2021.
Here at IMS, we’re proud to have nearly made it through 2020. We’re a little bit older, wiser, and looking forward to serving the people of Oxfordshire in 2021.