It wouldn’t take a genius to work out that Covid-19 is still the primary factor when it comes to the UK property market. Chances are, it’ll still be the case for some months to come too.

It’s being reported that house sales and lettings activity are on the upIt’s being reported that house sales and lettings activity are on the up

It’s not just the fact that the disease may or may not spike again, it’s the effects of economic measures being put in place that will have a huge impact on the market.

Rishi Sunak’s measures as Chancellor have had an immediate success but repercussions – good and bad - are likely to continue for some time.

Here at Ridgewater Sales and Lettings, we have recently seen an increase in sales activity particularly due to the Stamp Duty holiday.

While some may say it’s creating a false market, others comment that it’s done so much good that it should, in fact, be scrapped altogether!

Highlights of the housing market over the past few weeksHighlights of the housing market over the past few weeks

We will have to wait and see about that, but the reality is that it will have to be funded somehow, but at the moment, it’s certainly got the property market moving.

Now, here’s a handy roundup of the highlights of the housing market over the past few weeks:

ACTIVITY CONTINUES TO BE ON THE UP...

It’s being reported that house sales and lettings activity are on the up. Great news, given what’s going on in the world at the moment.

Neil Tozer, director of Ridgewater Sales and LettingsNeil Tozer, director of Ridgewater Sales and Lettings

The year got off to a great start, and then Covid-19 put the dampeners on that. When restrictions were lifted, the market hit back in no uncertain terms, and it looks like this trend is continuing, leading to a strong end of year performance on the cards.

...BUT MORTGAGE AVAILABILITY SHRINKS

Reports suggest that the number of mortgages has fallen to extremely low levels, all due to the pandemic.

Moneyfacts says that it’s the lowest level since 2010 and mortgage deals have in fact fallen to less than half the number that were available this time last year.

There are many reasons for this, but it could mean that lenders are even more risk-averse than they have been previously.

There are still mortgage products out there, but you’ll have to look carefully to find one that suits your requirements. Please ask us and we can put you in touch with our recommended mortgage advisor.

SEPTEMBER SALES INCREASED

The Government reports that ‘house sales rose by 21.3 per cent in September’, a rise that is in part down to the introduction of the Stamp Duty holiday and this of course helped to save hundreds of jobs in the property sector, and the supply chain too.

In a very positive communication, the Government says it wants people to ‘feel confident to move, to buy, to sell, to renovate, and to improve their homes, driving growth and supporting jobs’.

And it added that the news ‘comes on top of figures from the Building Societies Association which show that there has been a marked uplift in the number of people who say that now is a good time to buy a property this quarter – 37 per cent in September compared to 25 per cent in June’.

A note of caution has been sounded by investment specialists Hargreaves Lansdown though, which it is reported warned buyers that the Stamp Duty holiday was ‘causing short-term price inflation’.

LAND MARKET MOVING

A research report by advisor Savills suggests that activity in the land market was ‘strong’ over the summer, a time when the sector is traditionally quiet. Savills says that demand for smaller sites led the way.

The research showed that while the market is strong, developers are still a little cautious, except perhaps housing associations who are ploughing ahead with plans for new sites.

AND FINALLY, CONSERVE OR GO HIGHER...

A national newspaper article recently suggested that adding a conservatory to your home may be better than expanding into the loft.

It stated that people can cover the cost of their investment and get more for their house when they have a conservatory built.

A loft meanwhile, would earn its keep but not add anywhere near as much to a property’s price. What would you prefer?

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, get in touch with the Ridgewater Sales and Lettings team on 01803 525100 or neil@ridgewater.co.uk for home moving advice.