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Is Now a Good Time to Sell a Property in London?
The property market in London may have seen falling prices since the EU referendum in 2016, and which dropped even further due to the COVID19 pandemic last year. However, since the stamp duty holiday was announced in summer 2020 to last until the end of March this year, the property market has seen an increased amount of competition, with buyers scrambling to take advantage of the stamp duty savings coupled with lower house prices and low-interest mortgages. If you own a property in London, you might be wondering whether or not now is a good time to consider putting it on the market for sale.
When Should I Sell My Flat in London?
While most of 2020, and likely some of 2021 is different from the norm when it comes to the property market, timing is everything when it comes to selling your London home. Just like trading many other investments, there are certain times where you might be at a bigger advantage with highs and lows throughout the year that can help you make the most of the opportunity to sell. Throughout the year, the property market often fluctuates.
Winter, for example, is often one of the worst times to try and sell your home, although 2020/21 is looking different from the norm due to the stamp duty holiday. During this time of the year, buyers tend to be caught up with Christmas and property viewings are certainly less pleasant during the colder weather and shorter days. However, just after the New Year often sees an increase in property sales with many people seeing this time of the year as a time for a fresh start in a new home. Activity typically begins to pick up during the New Year and continues into the spring.
Summer, too, often sees a slowdown of activity in the property market with buyers more focused on summer holidays, enjoying the longer days and evenings and the school holidays. Once again, summer 2020 was very different with July and August seeing record numbers of viewings after the stamp duty holiday was introduced and an increasing number of people looked to purchase new homes after the national lockdown spurred many on to invest in properties with more outdoor space and a home office area.
In general, spring is the most popular time of the year for buying property, and therefore the best time to sell. Buyers tend to be more serious about looking for and purchasing a home during this season since it means that they can be in their new home by the summer and the Easter Bank holidays tend to be a prime time for home viewings.
The Market is Different in 2020/21 – Should I Sell My London Flat Now?
With a stamp duty holiday in place to increase activity in the property market despite COVID19 until the end of March 2021, buyers can save up to £15,000 on purchasing a new London property, making it an ideal time for those looking to sell a flat or a house in the capital. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that experts believe property prices will gradually begin to rise again in the capital over the next few years by 15% by 2024, meaning that if you’re in no rush to get rid of your London property just yet, it might be worth hanging onto it for a while longer.
Ultimately, it’s worth considering selling your property right now if you’re in a hurry to sell and want a quick sale. The stamp duty holiday means that competition is very high for homes in the capital and is only expected to rise even further before April 2021 as buyers scramble to take advantage of the huge discounts. In addition, buyers who are eligible for the stamp duty break are typically using their savings towards increasing their deposit, leading to mortgage approval speed increasing and providing buyers with more options when it comes to the property that they purchase, meaning that property is currently selling in record time.
If you’re considering holding off until the prices begin to rise again, it’s worth remaining active on the market, according to experts, as even buyers who are holding off making a purchase until the uncertainty of the current COVID19 situation is over are still likely to be browsing and researching. And with national lockdown in place once again across the UK, now might be the perfect time to consider what changes you can make to your London property to increase the price tag even further when the right time to sell comes around.
If your property requires some work on it before selling, you are still able to do this during national lockdown as long as you are following government guidelines, and of course, you’re free to do DIY as much as you’d like. Simple changes such as improving the front of your property can make a massive difference to the impression that you’ll be able to make on your potential buyers post-pandemic.
Predictions for 2021:
While the demand for property – and subsequently, property prices – are expected to drop once again as a result of the stamp duty holiday ending in 2021, experts believe that property prices in London will once again begin to gradually rise in 2021. And with a COVID19 vaccine now being administered throughout the UK, a sense of normalcy is finally in sight and it may be sooner rather than later when the London property market begins to bounce back.
In general, the near future looks quite promising for sellers with the pandemic acting as a wake-up call for many homebuyers who are reassessing their living priorities and looking for somewhere different to live. After spending more time than ever before at home over the course of 2020 and now 2021, many people are thinking more about the environment where they live and are placing more emphasis on certain property features such as access to outdoor space and room for a home office. With the new normal of working from home very much in place across the country, it’s expected to continue even after the pandemic is over, creating a more flexible working environment for many people that gives them more choice when it comes to where they live.
In the capital, many people have moved away from the centre in order to find a larger property as their main residence, which is good news for those looking to sell a flat in London since there has been an increase in buyers looking to purchase a second, smaller property in the capital for work purposes. In September of last year, the increase of people looking to relocate to greener areas after spending lockdown in the city saw house prices across the UK suddenly jump by 5% in response to the growing demand, encouraged further by Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty cut on properties priced below £500,000.
Should I Sell My London Flat Now – Why It Might Be Best to Wait:
While the future still looks promising for London property sellers, the general consensus from experts is that waiting a while to sell your London property is likely to be the better move in the long-term, unless you’re looking for a quick sale. Currently, the UK is in its third national lockdown, which may have an effect on homebuyers who are likely to try and avoid big life changes like a house move during a time with so many restrictions in place, although moving home is allowed to continue during this lockdown. Since the process of searching for and purchasing a home during lockdown is more difficult due to the fact that many property professionals such as estate agents and conveyancers have had to significantly change how they work due to the pandemic, it is likely that many potential buyers – particularly first-time buyers who already benefit from a stamp duty cut – will be waiting a while too.
Waiting is also the best option for those who want to ensure that they get the best price for their property. While competition is high right now due to the stamp duty break, prices are likely to drop once this has ended, which could impact your property’s ability to sell if it is still on the market during this time or force you to reduce your asking price in order to secure a sale. The fact that viewings are currently being held virtually wherever possible may also increase the difficulty levels of securing a buyer for your home in the current situation.
While buyers are currently flocking to London to take advantage of the stamp duty break and lower house prices, experts advise against being tempted to put your London property on the market right now unless you are looking for a quick sale. With the end in sight in terms of the COVID19 pandemic and London property prices predicted to grow by 12-15% over the next three years, hanging on a little longer may be a wiser move.
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