Carey Gilliland reflects on an unpredictable year, as well as seeing what 2021 might bring.
To give you some idea of how unseasonable December was thanks to Covid and the impending SDLT deadline, there were over 160 sales agreed in the month across BA1 and BA2 via all estate agents. Compared to the same month in 2019, that is a staggering increase of +65%. Tracking selling prices across the city shows a rise continuing from the end of Lockdown 1 in May and most property types are now averaging higher prices than median 2019 levels.
However, in terms of sales volumes, 2020 has been (understandably) still a very quiet year in Bath – the latest Land Registry figures for completions (Sept 2020) would suggest monthly volumes for 2020 at between 35% and 60% lower than the average 2019 month. As briefly mentioned in previous articles, independent agents have continued to dominate the top 5 in the city in 2020, with four of the five spots for most sales agreed in 2020 occupied by single branch owner led firms.
After such a turbulent last twelve months, what will the New Year bring to the local property market? Our little microcosm of a market is often protected from wider trends due to extreme demand and continued low stock levels but we are likely to see some impact from the end March SDLT holiday deadline (unless extended, which seems unlikely at present). With solicitors, surveyors and lenders backlogged with 2020 sales, it would take a brave soul to try and hit an end March completion when initiating a purchase in January. If you’re one of those, it would be worth concentrating on no chain properties if you’re going to attempt it. We may also then see an increase in transactions falling through at the end of March if the buyers Stamp Duty saving is at risk.
Will the exodus from London that fuelled many a local sale in 2020 continue in 2021? What about Brexit or further lockdowns? Lets hope for less of a rollercoaster experience over the next few months.
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