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Property market starts the new year with a bang

Activity on the property market continues to increase as we enter 2021 despite the uncertainty created by Covid-19 and the ongoing threat of further lockdown restrictions.

Despite a very active start to 2020 with the post-election ‘Boris Bounce’, early 2021 numbers from Rightmove are already showing an even busier period.

Managing director of Anthony Flint Property Consultants, Anthony Flint, said there had been a slow build up in January but the North Wales property market was now extremely busy.

Mr Flint said: “Despite a quietish first week back the property market is now frantically busy as we pass the halfway point in January.

“We have already sold a number of properties, subject to contract, in 2021 and there has been lots of interest in others, with plenty of viewings taking place – with our staff following covid-19 safety measures.

“It’s not just sales either, the rental market has been extremely busy prior, and in the lead up, to Christmas.

“We only have one or two properties available to rent at the moment because they go on the start of a week and have a tenant by the end of it.

“Not only is the LTT holiday having an impact but the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and continuously changing lockdown restrictions are resulting in people hurrying to buy or sell, before the property market (potentially) shut like it did last year.”

Rightmove has experienced the same kind of heightened numbers.

Visits to their website are up 33 per cent, the number of buyers contacting agents is up by 12% and the number of sales agreed is up by 9% for January so far compared to the same time in 2020.

Rightmove director of property data, Tim Bannister, said: “As we enter the new year and a new lockdown, the housing market remains open but is focused on the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday and on the challenges of the pandemic.

“These major influences on mover behaviour are clouding the 2021 outlook, but Rightmove’s early January market-leading indicators of buyer demand and the number of actual sales being agreed are looking robust, showing that there are many compelling reasons other than the stamp duty savings to make buyers enter the market in 2021.”

The frantic scramble to make the most of the LTT holiday has seen a drop in the average property price in Wales compared to December.

The average sales price has dropped by 0.4% to £210,073. But that it still an 8.8% increase compared to the same time last year.

Mr Bannister added: “Both metrics are up substantially on the same time a year ago, which itself was a brisk start to the year due to buyers reacting favourably to the certainty of a majority government.

“That certainty at the beginning of 2020 was replaced by nearly a year of pandemic uncertainty, though the major difference between the first lockdown and this one is that the housing market is open.

“Movers’ changed housing priorities due to the lockdown can therefore be more readily satisfied, though obviously estate agents will be carefully following government safety protocols, with more offering online viewings to help buyers to make shortlists and to cut down on the number of physical viewings that are taking place.”

But increased activity on the property market has caused a logjam in sales.

Some 613,000 sold subject to contract properties are still awaiting legal completion, with Rightmove projecting around 100,000 will face an unexpected tax bill as they miss the March 31 cut-off.

Mr Bannister said: “There are still a huge number of sales agreed in 2020 that are stuck in the processing logjam and awaiting legal completion, with many hoping to beat the impending tax deadline.

“For those who fail to do so, there may be difficulties if they have factored the tax savings into their budget calculations.

“The challenge of processing so many transactions in less than three months is made even tougher by the new lockdown restrictions, Covid-19 sickness and home-schooling further reducing capacity in conveyancing, legal searches and mortgage lending.”

If you have any questions about the state of the property market or are looking to buy, sell, rent or let get in contact with our expert team today by calling 01492 877 418 or emailing llandudno@anthonyflint.co.uk.