2020 has been an unprecedented year for the new homes industry, despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, house builders celebrated a buoyant start to the year, with the new homes industry on target to construct a record number of houses, to meet government expectations of annual construction of 300,000 homes a year by 2025. The impetus was soon to be halted by the Coronavirus pandemic, as the UK was put into lockdown on 23rd March, and the property sector ground to a halt.
The nation was well supported by our front-line key workers, who worked tirelessly to keep the country running. The rest of the UK population took to their homes and made the most of their one-hour exercise pass, and essential trips to the supermarket. Homeowners had never experienced such a long period confined together, and some embraced the time off, making time to complete DIY projects, and fall in love with their homes, while others were inspired to move home.
Government guidelines were relaxed on 13th May, to allow for socially distanced viewings, the news was well received within the property industry, which was poised like a coiled-up spring, ready for action. Estate agents and construction sites took time to carefully implement processes with PPE, Perspex screens, one-way systems and hand sanitiser installed as part of the new normal. Virtual viewings enabled prospective buyers to look around a property, from the comfort of their own home, enabling reservations to take place, despite site sales offices opening in staged phases and by strict appointment.
Work from home undoubtedly changed buyer perspectives and a wish list of priorities post May 2020 was likely include a balcony or outdoor garden space, provision of a study, or workstation area. Property portals saw a huge shift in search queries, with a marked increase from searchers looking to move away from city living and relocate to the countryside. Furthermore, a relaxation of planning laws announced in July 2020 by Boris Johnson were implemented to aid developers to meet the “build, build, build” programme. House builders were permitted to demolish existing vacant residential and commercial buildings, allowing for new build homes to be constructed in their place.
House builders have reported a buoyant summer, with high demand for new build properties. Low interest rates coupled with a temporary freeze on stamp duty up to £500,000 and an extension to the Help to Buy Scheme have been the perfect incentive to stimulate the new homes sector. House prices have remained stable and buyers have followed the trend of moving out of city areas, forsaking the commute, for country living with generous gardens and spacious living areas.
The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for better care for our ageing population, planning and provision for future pandemics is essential. Retirement living is the perfect solution. Retirement villages are built to a high standard, amenities and facilities are geared towards the retirement sector, with emphasis on providing a happy retirement community. Sociability is a huge advantage, with residents able to mingle, and health benefits are more advantageous with the elderly less likely to be hospitalised, and a lower incidence of coronavirus infections.
First time buyer numbers have fallen by 29% since 2019, despite interest rates being low, lenders have cautiously restricted mortgage deals, higher deposits are payable, and lending criteria remains stringent. The Bank of Mum and Dad remains popular; however, lenders have recently imposed restrictions on gifted deposits, with a greater emphasis on being able to see monies saved rather than gifted. First time buyers are making the most of affordable housing options and attractive incentives offered by the new build sector. The government has extended the Help to Buy scheme until 28th February 2021, and with a temporary freeze on stamp duty, there has never been a better time for first time buyers to get on the property ladder.
Part Exchange and Assisted Move are a fantastic resource for house builders. PLG provide an accurate valuation service and understand that our suggested marketing price or buy in recommendation will have to be financially viable for the plot purchase to work. We provide clear, concise communication throughout the whole process, with real time marketing updates, AML checks as standard, sales memo issue, and a tenacious sales progression service, with sole focus on a faster completion.
Property Ladder Group implemented a work from home strategy as part of our business model, this allowed us to maintain business as usual during the Covid-19 lockdown. Our mission is to provide a seamless service to our house builders, converting dependant customers into future plots sales, ultimately saving you time and money. To find out more, give us a call today on 0330 124 7434.