A Case of Déjà vu for The Housing Market – Property Notify

December 15, 2021 by No Comments

We end the year as we began it, gripped by Covid uncertainty.

Like an unwelcome guest, the coronavirus keeps turning up at the most inconvenient moments, each time a little different from on the previous visit.

We have been here before, and the sense of déjà vu is palpable, as it is in the housing market.

What will Omicron mean for housing?

I am a great fan of the comment attributed to Nye Bevan, a giant of the Labour Party of the past.

He said: “Why read the crystal when he can read the book?”

In other words, you do not have to gaze into a crystal ball to see what the future holds when you have the history to hand.

As I write this, we are in the middle of a massive rollout of vaccine booster doses.

Further restrictions have been mooted, beyond Plan B, but the government is apparently set against any further lockdowns.

Working from home guidance is back, and it appears that it is being observed.

In some respects, however, even in the absence of a lockdown, changes in people’s behaviour as bookings and events are cancelled, can replicate its effects.

So, we can look to past lockdowns for the history.

It is a long time ago now, but most people reading this will remember the first lockdown, in March 2020, when the housing market was closed for two months, and the official statisticians suspended collection of data for their house price index.

Monthly residential property transactions slumped by 55% between March and April 2020, to a level of roughly 40% of their end-2019 average, before recovering slightly in May, when the market re-opened.

There was a similar profile for mortgage approvals.

Now fast forward to November last year, the month of the second lockdown.

This time the housing market stayed open, even if staying open meant operating virtually for many.

Most adapted well to the new environment, in a way few would have expected earlier in the year.

Virtual viewings became the norm and many in the industry were comfortable with the new working from home norm.

So were many buyers, no longer looking for somewhere convenient for the daily commute into work but, perhaps, a new working lifestyle in which they are rarely, if ever, in the office.

Taking transactions again as our guide, they rose by 7.5% to 115,270 between October 2020 (no lockdown) and November (lockdown).

The November figure was not far short of three times …….

Source: https://www.propertynotify.co.uk/news/featured/a-case-of-deja-vu-for-the-housing-market/

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