The Covid-19 pandemic changed the world as we know it. Businesses shut down, and countries went under lockdown, economies suffered, and almost every industry was affected. The tourism industry took a big hit, the aviation industry was impacted, unemployment was on the rise, and the real estate industry suffered. All around the world, economies and industries suffered because of the pandemic. With the UK going into its third lockdown in 2021, potential buyers, homeowners, real estate investors and sellers were unsure what the future holds. As the UK government introduced stamp duty holiday, as mortgage interest rates reduced and the vaccine was introduced, the future started to look a little better. Now, the question on everyone’s mind is, what will affect house buyers in 2021? What is the future of the real estate industry in the UK in 2021? From letting agents in Buckingham to real estate agents in Leeds, we spoke to them all; here is what the experts have to say.
Change in property viewings
During the first lockdown, the real estate market came to a halt. Real estate agents had to shut shop, property viewings were not allowed, and potential buyers in the midst of finalising their deal had to temporarily pause the process of buying their new home. After that, online viewings became the new norm. Instead of the convention open houses and property viewings, potential buyers had to view property virtually. In 2021, it is expected that virtual property viewings will continue, and will eventually become the thing of the future. Once buyers select a property, they like after viewing it online, and they can schedule an actual property viewing.
The digitalisation of the home buying process
It is expected that the process of buying a new home in 2021 will become digitised. Of course, this will not only affect buyers but real estate agents and sellers too. From online property viewings to hiring real estate agents online, and even submitting documents online, a whole lot of the process of buying a new property will become digital. While this has its perks and its cons, in the long run, it seems that digitalisation might just make the lives of buyers, sellers and even real estate agents a whole lot easier. Real estate agents will have to use social media platforms for marketing themselves, sellers will have to update property information online frequently, and potential buyers will start viewing property virtually.
Increase in demand for bigger homes
With more and more people working from home, homeowners are moving towards home improvements, and there is a considerable demand for bigger homes. Homeowners are looking to move into homes with more bedrooms, a terrace or patio, possibly some outdoor space or a garden, and properties with home offices. We see a considerable rise in the demand for properties in and around cities in the outskirts and boroughs. Since these cities have bigger homes at affordable prices, homeowners choose to move out of their central London homes and into these developing cities to improve their living standards. This will impact homebuyers in 2021 and potential buyers and first-time buyers looking to buy property in the UK.
Prices of real estate will have a significant impact
Of course, the price of real estate in the UK will significantly impact home buyers. While some experts predict that the average prices of real estate might fall from 2 to 5 per cent, some predict that the real estate market will remain relatively stable. However, some experts believe that there might be an increase in real estate price by the end of 2021. While no one knows what the future holds, it is expected that the low rate of interest coupled with stamp duty holiday will lead to an increase in demand for real estate. Stamp duty holiday is supposed to end by March, but if the UK government decides to extend this temporary suspension of stamp duty, we might see an even more significant increase in demand.
At the end of the day, Covid-19 has majorly affected potential house buyers and sellers. While we do not know what the future holds, we can only hope that introducing the vaccine will improve buyer confidence and help the real estate market pick up again. From the uncertainty of employment to the change in real estate prices, everything will affect a future house buyer in 2021. As of now, it seems that the introduction of stamp duty holiday, the low rates of interest, discounts and deals on prime property and the digitalisation of the home buying process will only be beneficial for the potential buyer.