5 Reasons to be Positive – Housing Market Edition

Coming to you with a slightly different blog this week…

As we all know, 2020 was a tough year for a lot of people, both personally and professionally. The housing market came to all but a grinding holt in lockdown one. Homeowners, buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, estate agents, brokers, solicitors, surveyors, lenders (apologies if we’ve missed anyone!) were all affected in a multitude of ways.  While general life is far from back to “normal” so far in 2021, the recovery of the housing market from the position it was in 12 months ago has been remarkable.

So, to share some positivity about the housing market…

  1. Stamp Duty

Probably the biggest boost to the housing market we’ve seen in generations and certainly the biggest factor in the recovery from where the industry was this time last year. The scheme has quite literally saved thousands, thousands! Stamp duty land tax is a cost which puts many people off moving so in removing this tax, it stimulated a market which was suffering badly. There’s still 80 days left until the first deadline on 30th June 2021 and 172 days left until the second deadline on 30th September 2021. This is for no stamp duty on your own sole residential property purchase below £500k and £250k respectively. If you’re thinking of moving, doing so within this window could save you thousands.

  1. Local Authority Searches

10 weeks, 12 weeks, how many weeks!? Just how bad did it get in your area? While some local authorities slowed a little, some made a snail’s pace look like a Mercedes Formula 1 car. Waiting for searches back from the local authority, what is already one of the longest parts in the property purchase process, became an even more tortuous wait. Thankfully, due to the hard work of those responsible, this has picked up in most areas. People are getting their searches back in normal timescales, usually within 6 weeks. Chains are now ready to complete when people are ready rather than when the local authorities are ready, and everyone is happier and less stressed for it.

  1. Banks Speeding Up

While we sympathise that moving a multinational corporation to thousands of solo home offices is rather a challenge, theirs nothing like the rage felt when speaking to a robot rather than an actual human. Thankfully, the days of waiting over a month for your case to be reviewed look largely behind us. Adding to this, ridiculous criteria changes that were nothing but a way to limit non-straightforward business (trying hard not to mention lenders names…) look to be largely gone now too. For many people, this had significant consequences as they slipped onto SVR or missed out on the property while lenders took “20 working days” to confirm water is wet.

Better times are returning. Valuations are getting booked promptly, documents are getting checked, cases are being considered on their merit and applications are being progressed to offer in great time!


  1. 95% mortgages

Massive news for first time buyers especially who were all but shut-off from owning their own homes when 95% mortgages dropped off the face of the UK mortgage market last year. 90% mortgages became gold dust with many lenders pulling out of the 85% market as well. The return of 95% mortgages has been a hot topic since rumours circulated in the build up to the Chancellor’s Budget in March. Since then, we’ve seen various lenders come back into the 95% market, irrespective of the government backing with the promise of more lenders to come. While interest rates on these mortgages are relatively high at the minute, the impending increased competition in the market should drive these rates down a little further making the repayments more affordable.

  1. Low Interest Rates

Has there ever been a better time to borrow? Mortgage interest rates are at all-time lows, particularly for lower LTV mortgages. We’ve seen many client’s capital raise to take advantage of cheap borrowing. People have used their money to start a rental portfolio, make changes to their home or simply to reinvest their capital into a more lucrative asset. The pandemic did result in slight interest rates rises, particularly for higher LTV mortgages. This was primarily as they had to limit the volume of business they could take and we’re now seeing rates return to pre-pandemic levels. Finally, with the Government focus being on incentivising public spending, we’re highly unlikely to see any significant rise short-term. As for any long-term predictions you may see, well recent events have taught everyone to take these with a certain degree of scepticism.

With the aid of furlough, the stamp duty holiday, reduced public spending and various other factors, the housing market has snowballed to incredible volumes as the industry bounces back from the pandemic. Once these factors change, no doubt the industry will feel the change again. But just as we did last year, those with the right attitude will come through stronger and better for it.


Wherever you are and whatever industry you’re in, let the return to a sense of normality be a cause for happiness, positivity and let’s start smiling again. We hope everyone is staying safe and looking forward to the remainder of this year and beyond – you’ve got this!