What a very frustrating start to the year! The housing market in the south of England was lively for the first three months and plenty of deals were being done. Brexit was agreed, we have a government with a solid majority for the first time in over a decade and after a few years of a slow property market all the signs were indicating a busy Spring. Then lockdown came along!
The housing market is now effectively closed until the end of lockdown, but the big question is where prices will be when we are allowed back to work. There was good demand for houses in Hants/West Sussex & Surrey before the outbreak and I believe that pent-up demand will still be there. We often see bricks & mortar investment after a downturn which should help to underpin prices in this instance. There might also be further interest in this area from families in London who were planning a move out in the next few years, but have decided to bring that forward after craving for more space during the lockdown period. I think there will still be good demand.
Before March 23rd, estate agents were attending a lot of valuations with a number of potential sellers wanting to wait until their gardens looked at their best in the Spring. Whether any of these owners will change their minds after this remains to be seen, but agents may also see some new instructions from people who have been hit hard by the current economic restrictions. Sellers will have to be realistic because buyers will think they have the upper hand in this climate, but if a house is priced sensibly, I think it will still create buying interest and achieve the right price.
Everything depends on how long lockdown goes on for. At the moment it appears that this situation will be in place until the end of April and quite possibly into May, if it lasts beyond that then I will have to re-evaluate. However I think that there is a very good chance that the demand for solid houses in Hants/West Sussex & Surrey will continue to outstrip supply, with a caveat that I expect buyers to be very cautious about spending too much. Therefore at the end of lockdown, I believe prices will start again where they left off and plateau for the rest of the year. I expect more transactions than normal in the Summer market, and the traditionally high-turnover Autumn market will be very busy.