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2021 Forecast

January update with Mark Towell - Managing Director

Looking forward to the rest of 2021


Hi I’m Mark Towell from Prospect Estate Agency. I just wanted to share with you an update and overview of our own action plans and initiatives for what we are doing to keep our clients and staff safe during the current lockdown.

We have minimised the number of staff working out of our offices, and they are all adapting to the two metre rule. Of course, we have ensured that all of our employees have been supplied with the relevant PPE equipment so that they can continue regularly sanitising and using face masks, gloves, and the other necessary tools to continue doing business.

Our use of video is currently at the best we’ve ever seen before. Most importantly, it’s at its best since the start of the COVID pandemic. The feedback that we are getting from our clients is that the property videos really are useful, and it is great that in the event that we do have to meet face to face for a viewing or valuation, most of the work has been done prior to the meeting over video.

Our Heads of Departments will keep you updated via video on relevant items such as the stamp duty holiday coming to an end on the 31st March 2021; the EICR reports that need to have been completed on every property come 1st April 2021; and the latest legislation on eviction notices, which is ever changing and confusing to even those of us in the industry!

Like many parents at the moment, including myself, home schooling alongside working is becoming a part of day to day life. We are three weeks in, so give yourselves all a big pat on the back! You are all doing an outstanding job.


We’ve created a Home Schooling Page on Facebook to support all the parents in our local community who are having to home school their children. We have two lovely ladies who are actively working on there, answering questions and sharing ideas, hints and tips to support you as parents at home. We are also really lucky to have our IT company offering any IT related issues, support and tips to help you at home should you need it.

We’re really proud of this. We think it is something really positive within the community and we’ve seen what a lot of other estate agents have done as well, which we think is commendable for the industry – especially considering we were once the third most disliked industry in the country! It’s great to see us all coming together and trying to help the community in this period of uncertainty and concern.

I wish you all well, be safe, and I look forward to working together in the future.

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The latest Residential sales and lettings updates

Hear from our heads of Sales and lettings


Sales

Roberto Contreras
Head of Residential Sales
Roberto Contreras - Head of Residential Sales

Well, what a whirlwind 2020 was for the residential sales market! I don’t think that anyone could have seen that coming.

We are all aware of what happened to the residential sales market in March and the challenges that it brought over the first few months of lockdown, but the big question most people ask me is how did the year finish?

The short answer is fantastically well! Similar to the first six months, I don’t think that anyone could have predicted how busy and buoyant the market was from July onwards. The last six months of the year saw a huge surge in activity made up of pent up demand from the first lockdown, people having the time to revaluate their living situations, and most importantly, the stamp duty changes put in place from the government, saving people thousands of pounds. We saw huge increases in the number of people wanting valuations on their homes and buyers registering to find their dream property. Sales agreed between July up until November were in the region of 40% higher than a previous average month. Most of the highest recorded numbers in the business now were achieved in the second half of 2020, which speaks volumes.

November brought us into a second lockdown, which most people thought would cause the market to slow. However, we actually mirrored most of the activity levels that we saw in October. December in any market place is the quietest month of the year and this was no different, however we saw a steady stream of activity made up of lower numbers of clients, but super high quality and very motivated.

Overall, the last six months of the year were fantastic, and most sales agents agree that pipelines are ready to burst with the highest number of completed transactions predicted for quarter one of 2021.

There are still potential challenges with solicitor workloads, stamp duty changes coming to an end and of course, being in our third lockdown. But one thing is for sure - we are still selling property at a great rate and now is the time to find out what your property is worth.

Lettings

Michael Gallagher MARLA
Head of Lettings
Michael Gallagher MARLA - Head of Lettings

In the 31 years since we have been open, the property industry has experienced a few roller coasters. Never before have we seen a year quite like 2020!

Looking to 2021, landlords and tenants remain under financial pressure and 2021 is likely to prove another challenging year. As an agency, we will continue to support our clients, current and new, throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Even as we find ourselves in the third lockdown, the property market is remaining strong. Tenants flocking to the market in huge numbers has resulted in an all-time high for ‘Lets Agreed’ in all of our areas.

We believe that once we see lockdown restrictions reduced, and eventually removed, there will be at least a partial return to normal office working, which will bring a further rise in demand for rented accommodation. A return to regular life will also see the return of international corporate tenants.

Despite floods of new tenants coming to the market, just like last year, there has not been a significant change in the number of new properties being listed, resulting in fewer and fewer properties becoming available. This is great news for landlords who are looking for tenants or anyone who would consider letting.

At Prospect we pride ourselves on the quality of property we present to the market and we measure this with what we call our instruction to let conversion, which is simply the number of properties we let compared to the amount marketed. In 2020 we saw an improvement of 11%.

This is partly a result of our virtual viewings, which saw a huge uplift at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and will continue to be a huge part of our digital marketing strategy.

Now, more so than ever, digital marketing is key to successfully finding a tenant. Even in the midst of a pandemic, by using our in-house smart online technologies and extensive digital marketing on popular portals, we are ensuring everyone’s safety whilst continuing to get our landlords excellent results.

We expect rental prices to be resilient throughout 2021. As supply continues to be outweighed by demand in our areas, the market will continue to stimulate rental growth. We expect more economic and political certainty in 2021, and as always, the UK property market forecast 2021 will reflect this momentum, fuelling both growth and future transactions.

Read our Winter Lettings Update.


LEARN MORE

2021 Property Market Update

What can we say about 2020?


In the 30 years since we have been open, we have experienced some peaks and troughs in the economy and there’s certainly been a few rollercoasters for the property industry, too. Yet never before have we experienced a year quite like 2020.

For all of us, in both our business and personal lives, it has been a year of change. Finding new ways of communicating, new ways of working and new ways of life. Parents becoming teachers, delivery drivers becoming front-line workers and Sir Captain Tom becoming the nation’s hero.

For us here at Prospect, our teams have worked through not only a challenging year for them as individuals, but one of our busiest as a company as we helped an unprecedented amount of people with their property needs.

With huge numbers of local movers, as well as thousands of people fleeing the major metropolitan areas seeking a quieter, healthier life in peaceful places like Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire, our teams have worked tirelessly to help everyone move. Buyer demand increased by 53% year on year and at times, it seemed as though there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

Despite the lows of lockdown, 2020 certainly finished on a high, with Rightmove reporting residential property prices finishing 6.6% higher than 2019.

This momentum is largely attributed to the Stamp Duty Holiday, which is due to come to an end on 31st March 2021. With a logjam of over 650,000 properties currently changing hands, it is becoming more of a concern in the industry that many sales won’t complete before the deadline.

Industry experts have been advising the Government that an extension, or at the very least, a certificate of sale (which would allow any property sold subject to contract before the deadline to have an additional timeframe to complete the transaction) is needed to avoid potentially thousands of sales nationwide falling through. We wait with anticipation for further updates.

2021 has already seen the busiest start to the year ever according to Rightmove, with over 6 million visits to their website on 4th January alone. That’s 28% higher than the same day a year prior! The announcement of a third lockdown, with the prospect of spending many more weeks, potentially months, in our homes has only fuelled the pent up demand, with visits to Rightmove.co.uk and our own website up by 30%.

The residential lettings side of our business has also been extremely busy, with new waves of first time tenants and huge numbers of upsizers. However, unlike the residential sales market, the residential lettings market hasn’t been flooded with new listings. Whilst there has still been an increase in new listings compared to previous years, it is nothing in comparison to the rise of new tenants.

This has meant that properties in demand, namely three bedroom or larger homes, are being let extremely quickly and for excellent rents. Whilst family homes have been particularly popular, areas like Reading are finding demand is focused on two bedroom properties with access to outside space. Needless to say, apartments with balconies are extremely coveted right now!

The disequilibrium between supply and demand in the lettings sector has given sellers, especially those who have already found their next property, an attractive new option. Rather than waiting for a buyer and hoping the sale will complete prior to the stamp duty deadline, many sellers are now taking advantage of the buoyant lettings market conditions and deciding to let their property instead of selling. This decision not only allows them to make their onwards move as desired but also is helping stabilise the rental market by supplying property styles that are in great demand.

The property market, and our doors, very much remain open. Your property plans aren’t cancelled, and whilst we continue to help those looking to move in 2021, our main focus is still the safety of our clients and our staff, which takes precedent over doing any business. The robust safety measures implemented in March last year are helping us to ensure everyone’s safety and we will continue reviewing these as new guidance and restrictions are given.

If you are thinking of moving in 2021 or would just like a chat about what the market is doing and how this has affected your house price, we are in the best, and safest, position to help you.

Contact your local office by clicking here or to arrange your free virtual or face-to-face COVID-19 safe valuation, click here.

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The statistics

the numbers speak for themselves


Prospect Sales internet registrations in 2020

The graph above shows buyer registration levels since the beginning of the year.

Prospect Lettings internet registrations in 2020

The graph above shows renter registration levels since the beginning of the year.

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