January Market Review
In the wake of COVID-19 the UK experienced an exodus. This was the evacuation of urban dwellers to the land of milk and honey – the countryside.
The flight from city lockdown to a pastoral idyll was and is a compelling idea, especially when working practices have changed so much in the light of the pandemic. January saw no reduction in this swell of buyers looking for property in what some refer to as a safe haven, but for those of us fortunate enough to already live here simply refer to as our home. Oxfordshire, and West Oxfordshire in particular have always attracted those searching for a country lifestyle. Witney and the outlying villages certainly are attractive places to live, work, raise a family and socialise (!!).
But will this movement last? In a post-vaccination world there may be a gradual drifting back to the pleasures and convenience of big town or city life. But for many the change in lifestyle is now locked in. Roots have been put down in earth rather than concrete.
Despite the looming end to the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31st there is little or no let-up in demand. Lockdown 3 and January in particular has brought even more buyers to the market and house price rises have reflected this. Despite the operational challenges posed by this pandemic, there have been few times that have been more suited to selling AND buying a new home. It is unusual to operate in a time with strong demand and plentiful supply.
Many exodus purchases have been a straight swap – town for country. But a good proportion of transactions have been for holiday homes with a view to longer-term permanent living through career change, altered lifestyle or retirement. This is clever thinking as any potential rises in capital gains tax could favour greater investment in principal residences, rather than second homes.
COVID-9 has affected the property market in ways that we never expected, and we imagine it will continue to do so for quite a while. Unwelcome, horrifying and shattering as the disease is, for many buyers and sellers it has also unexpectedly proved to be a profound catalyst for change. If COVID-19 fades in its potency into the spring and summer, we think those changes will continue to grow and become wonderful new opportunities. For many, the land of milk and honey beckons.
If you are thinking of selling your home, please contact me personally or a member of my team and let us reassure you that through adoption of our SAFE-MOVE protocol, we really can make your move a safe one.
Simon Daughton – Branch Manager