2020: A year where everything changed

2020: A year where everything changed

As we all make preparations for the year ahead, we've brought you a month-by-month recap of 2020's property market highs and lows.

January – this time last year, we started with an incredible boost to market activity, with the 'Boris bounce' leading to more new listings and sales being agreed following a period of political uncertainty and concern over Brexit in 2019.
February – by the second month, news of the pandemic made its way across Europe; even though very few of us could have predicted just how much of an impact it would have at this stage!
Meanwhile, the largest ever private real estate transaction took place, with IQ student accommodation being sold for £4.7bn.

March – with the pandemic set to massively impact companies, the government froze business rates for retail, leisure and hospitality tenants.
However, the inevitable happened towards the end of the month, as the entirety of the UK were plunged into a complete lockdown.

April – the property market came to a standstill as the sector was forced to close for the foreseeable future.
Firms across the country tried to battle the pandemic’s financial effect using the furlough schemes and support available.
As a country, we also started embracing the benefits of remote working, developing new skills and spending time on DIY projects around the house.
May – in May, the property market could finally return to some degree of normality.
This involved the sector reopening, including the resumption of sales and lettings activity to get the country safely moving again.
June – unfortunately, June saw the massive real estate company – Intu – enter into administration, putting many of the UK’s shopping centres at risk.
We also saw the alert level downgrade from four to three, after a steady decrease in cases.
For the property market, we saw a steady and healthy return of pre-pandemic activity; especially for the lettings market with a rental bounce.
July – a stamp duty holiday was announced, which would cut the rate to 0% for all properties under £500k until March 2021.
The Government also launched a new drive that promised the biggest planning overhaul in decades, including a revamp to permitted development rights.
We also saw an extraordinary fundraising effort for the NHS, with 100-year-old Captain Tom Moore raising over £33m, as well as receiving a knighthood from the Queen.

August – prime property showed a remarkable recovery, as it reports the biggest rise in deals compared to other areas since the end of the lockdown.
The eat-out-to-help-out scheme went live, providing the hospitality sector with a much-needed boost.

September – as the number of cases rapidly rose, the UK was warned that a second wave of the virus had arrived.
As a result of this, the Government imposed new restrictions on the nation.
Many were concerned that this would hamper property market recovery, which turned out not to be the case, as sales agreed and tenant enquiries went from strength-to-strength.

October – demand continued to rise, spurred on by the possibility of stamp duty savings.
Towards the end of October, Boris Johnson announced that England would be placed in another lockdown.
Thankfully, the property market would continue to operate throughout this period, so as to avoid the impact the first lockdown had on the sector.

November – the market remained resilient despite the second lockdown, with house prices increasing by 5.8%.
We also saw mortgage approvals reach new record-breaking heights, according to Rightmove, with similar figures seen in 2007.
At the end of the month, it was announced that regions in England would be placed in different tiers based on case totals.

December – the last month of 2020 started with great news, with a COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out to those who were most vulnerable first.
This news boosted the whole of the economy, including the property market, allowing people to finally start seeing life as back to normal in the future.

If you have any questions, or you are looking to buy or sell in 2021, get in touch with our team.