As we ease slowly out of lockdown we are filled with a sense of hope and expectation. After weeks of unexpected and enforced restrictions on both our lives and our livelihoods we are now moving into the ‘relaxation phase’. Those lockdown weeks have given many of us time to reflect.
For many, the fear of this insidious virus has now been replaced by other fears. The potential economic impact of lockdown has been headline news for several weeks and must be at the front of everyone’s minds. Arguments are strong on both sides. However, this comment is not about science vs economy.
With the reopening of the housing market we have seen estate agents bursting into action with hopes that we can swiftly return to normal. The time of reflection during lockdown, the restrictions on home, family, and business life has surely convinced many that this is the time to move. While some agents have reported their best week in years following the unlocking of the housing market, others have not seen the same bounce back.
Working from home has, for many, been a pipe dream. Approximately 5% of the country work from home. The remainder have a regular daily commute, whether it be a few minutes’ walk, or two hours on the train. The new normal is showing us that working from home can work. This gives rise to the idea that living near the workplace is far less important than it was. Perhaps the balcony can be upgraded to a terrace, the terrace to a garden, the garden to a place in the country. Many if not all of us have had the opportunity to reflect on what is important.
The financial markets have made a significant recovery since the beginning of the ‘drop’ in late February. While we saw an initial drop of 35% in early March the recovery has been steady. Global reports from the ECB have certainly helped. Latterly the US Fed predictions have hindered. Speculation is rife as to the timing of the expected recovery. Will we see a U, a W, a V, or an L. Perhaps even the upside-down square root – very confusing for many to understand let alone predict. However, the housing market is a resilient beast.
With reflection comes the time to decide. Is it a good time for me to buy? Is the housing market going to drop? Having moved into the unlock phase it is impossible to predict what the housing market is going to do in the next few months. General opinion believes that the housing market is not likely to suffer a significant fall although commercial property is a different prospect. While it is feasible that market fluctuations may see a +/- 10% variance, this is likely to be area specific and short term. Looking ahead to next year one expects to see a return to growth and price increases across the country. As buyer confidence returns, we can expect a strong 2021.