Jacksons Law Firm solicitor Isabelle Edmondson discusses the surge of the housing marketing amid the pandemic…

Who would have thought that the coronavirus pandemic would have led to a surge in the housing market?

Despite the uncertainty that the conveyancing market had during the first lockdown, it is safe to say that the housing market is currently facing a boom.

The surge in the housing market appears to have been several factors, namely:

1. Work/Life balance
2. Stamp Duty Holiday
3. Help to buy Scheme Extension

When the country was told to “work from home”, a number of people became disenchanted by their property and surroundings, and so, we have seen a number of clients move away from the city and take advantage of a quieter life, enjoying the delights of the countryside whilst working from home. It is anticipated that the work from home mantra will lead to more of the UK workforce doing exactly that, and so, why not work from a home that you want to?

The Stamp Duty holiday – need I say more? This seems to have been the main catalyst for many buyers. With the chance to save thousands of pounds and plough this into moving costs, home improvements and even negotiations over the purchase price, this has most definitely assisted those people to make that move.

Looking at the new build sector, whilst buyers have also enjoyed the Stamp Duty holiday, buyers have been able to use the Stamp Duty holiday to their advantage by negotiating different incentives with the builders, or being able to make and, perhaps more importantly, afford that kitchen upgrade and general choices to make their house their own.

It is also important to note that the current Help to Buy equity loan scheme extension of two months has also assisted both buyers and developers in the current climate. What with the new Help to Buy scheme launched on December 16, it will be interesting to see the uptake of such schemes.

Of course, the pandemic has had an impact on lending criteria for majority of the mainstream lenders which has perhaps hindered first time buyers. However, first time buyers still do have the advantage of using other schemes such as Help to Buy ISA’s and Lifetime ISA’s.

The pandemic has of course led to delays in some housing transactions, and most delays are unfortunately out of the control of the conveyancer.

We have seen delays in relation to searches due to lack of access to the local authorities, as well as general delays with the lenders due to mortgage holidays, increase in mortgage applications and criteria for such mortgages and remote working.

Whilst delays are inevitable in the current climate, the housing market and conveyancing world is currently facing an extraordinarily busy time of the year.

It is safe to say that whilst it has been a strange 2020, the housing market has bounced back from the uncertainty it first faced with resilience.

Isabelle Edmondson
Solicitor (Scottish Qualified), New Build Property Team, Jacksons Law



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