Business is great here in the North of England offices and we are looking for more instructions to cope with demand from energized buyers. Since the market reopened in Mid-May, we have been so pleased to be able to get back to work and press ahead for clients who had been forced to delay listing their home during the shutdown.
Our ‘patch’ stretches between the Lake District in the West to Tyne & Wear in the East, with the emphasis primarily on rural property, farms and land; specialising in discrete brokerage.
New instructions in the region have recovered to pre-Covid levels and more – indeed they are now higher than at any point in 2020. Properties with a sale agreed are also at their highest level since 1 January. Rightmove have released statistics this week stating that there hasn't been a greater peak in launch activity in any one month since March 2008.
There is sustained sales activity across all property price bands, from £200,000 to £2million, with motivated buyers acting quickly to secure their new home. It is heartening to note that the disruption caused by the lockdown has not dented the confidence of buyers.
The main drivers for the residential market can be grouped under three headings.
Firstly, Chancellor Sunak’s stamp duty holiday is proving to be an exceptionally welcome incentive for buyers, which is driving unseasonal demand. Some purchasers have brought forward their planned move to take advantage of the changes, which will come to an end on 31 March 2021. The temporary changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax mean that properties priced up to £500,000 are currently exempt from SDLT for transactions completed by 31 March 2021. This represents a saving of £15,000. Higher priced properties are not exempt from SDLT but the rates have been reduced.
Secondly, well connected rural property has been very much in demand since the period of lockdown with many city-dwellers now considering a move to the countryside. Anyone who had to endure over three months of lockdown in an apartment without access to outside space has my sympathy. The importance of a garden, some land and privacy from one’s nearest neighbour has never seemed more desirable. The continued possibility of home-working has also helped a greater number of people to consider relocating to a more scenic area, as the daily commute is now much less of a limiting factor.
Finally, buyers frequently mention the advantage of having an annexe or a separate building that can be converted for use by visiting family. More and more of us have recognised how wonderful it is to have family close at hand at a time of need. In rural areas the price differential compared with a city-centre or suburban property, may enable this dream to become a reality.
The northern counties of Cumbria and Northumberland offer the ideal combination of beautiful landscapes, dramatic coastlines, attractive architecture and convenience of easy proximity to dynamic cities such as Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham and Middlesbrough. We have an increasing number of buyers relocating from London and the South East, but also buyers from Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh seeking to enjoy a better work-life balance in the northern counties.
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