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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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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 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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