I have been fortunate to write a regular piece in the Yorkshire Post’s Property Post for a number of years. I like to think I have provided considered thought and opinion regarding issues affecting the residential market across Yorkshire, even though a couple of friends refer to them as my bi-monthly property rants!
However, I must admit this has probably been the most difficult article to write when there are so many contradictions to consider. As we all know South Yorkshire is going into Tier 3 lockdown, West Yorkshire and York are currently in Tier 2, with talk of the former also going into Tier 3. North Yorkshire currently remains in Tier 1 but with neighbours to the north, south and west subject to higher levels of restriction, it begs the question how long this might continue. Meanwhile the region’s housing market seems determined to continue its current surge, fuelled in no small part by the stamp duty holiday on purchases up to £500,000 until the end of March next year. Whilst we all know the benefits of living in “gods own”, the market in certain areas is also being helped by recognition of attributes relating to quality of life. Both Harrogate and York have this week been listed in the top 10 of best places to work from home in the UK, in the Uswitch Remote Working Index 2020. My home town of Harrogate has taken the top slot having regard to the likes of download speeds, green space, air pollution, doctors and schooling. I am not surprised but then maybe I am a little biased!
So where does this bizarre amalgam of lockdown restriction, financial stimulus, low interest rates, modern technology and lifestyle preference leave the market going forward? In the short term, by which I mean the next 4–5 months, I think the current positive marketplace will continue but not at the same frantic pace we have seen since our industry reopened in mid May. Higher tier lockdown restriction will inevitably create an element of caution in some areas and there are those who feel the market needs an element of constraint in any event so that all levels of buyer have chance to get a foot on the property ladder.
Looking towards the spring of 2021, with Covid vaccines being discussed on the basis of when, and not if, I feel confident the long held desire for property ownership in the UK will underwrite a return to more usual market conditions, dictated by what historically have been factors such as supply and demand, fashions and trends, and inevitably the economy and interest rates. In fact many being issues that I have written about regularly in the past.
The slogan keep calm and carry on comes to mind, when I consider how all my thoughts have come together in writing this piece. And for those of you who are constrained particularly by Tier 3 restrictions maybe the next few weeks will at least give you an opportunity to undertake those essential autumn maintenance works that all property requires but yet is so often overlooked. Yes, I am talking about leaves blocking gutters, peeling paintwork, removing those dead plants in the garden and even decluttering the garage. And if the weather keeps you inside, maintenance internally is just as important provided you don’t get too carried away with the colour schemes. You might think I am sounding like a broken record but, as I have said the same many times before, it still fascinates me how some individuals don’t seem to remember the merits of looking after your most important asset. Keep safe and well.
Tim Waring, Head of Residential