December 1, 2020Market Summary

Has Covid been a blessing in disguise for the Hemel Hempstead property market?

What a year it’s been for everyone in Hemel Hempstead. So much uncertainty, so much worry about jobs and of course concern over health. However, the property market has actually fared very well this year. More of us have spent more time in our homes, and I think it’s fair to say that the role our homes play in our lives has increased greatly in importance.

In order to understand the movements of the housing market in 2020 it’s worth looking back at how the year played out. Boris won the election on the 13th December 2019 which essentially broke through a Brexit impasse. The UK left the EU on the 31st January and the transnational period (which we are still in) began. The prime ministers first lockdown broadcast was on the 23rd March and we estate agents weren’t allowed to go back to work until the 13th May.

The government allowed estate agents like us to go back to work before many other industries because of the key role home-moves play in the wider economy. Thousands of jobs depend on people moving home, some obvious like removal companies and locksmiths and decorators and some less obvious like insurers, furniture suppliers and utilities providers. Another huge area of importance is the new build homes market. If no-one is buying new homes for protracted periods, then construction jobs evaporate.

The other reason to get the housing market moving again after lock down was all the Stamp Duty revenue the government was missing out on. On July 8th, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, did something very clever. He announced that the nil rate threshold for Stamp Duty would be increased from £125,000 to £500,000 for purchases in England and Northern Ireland until March 31, 2021.

So what do the numbers tell us about the size and shape of this boom in Hemel Hempstead? We like to use Land Registry data to get a full picture of real movements in prices, even though the latest data available isn’t super-recent. The data shows us that as of September 2020, the average price of a home was £418,703. This is 7.3 per cent higher than the same period a year before. Given the year we’ve had, the change is very impressive indeed.

When you account for how unstable the year has been in so many senses, it’s all the more remarkable how the property market has performed. The market has lots of things on its side, not least that real estate is universally seen by investors as a safe-haven. If you’re starting to think about moving, give us a call.

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