Ed Percival, Director at My Home Move Conveyancing
5 minutes read
With the UK in its third national lockdown, it can be a difficult time to consider moving home, particularly for first time buyers. So is 2021 a good time to buy a house?
Here at My Home Move Conveyancing, we understand it’s an unnerving time. After carrying out a survey of 1,000 people*, we found that 93% of Brits felt unsure about moving house based on the threat of the pandemic and the ever-changing tier restrictions.
76% of first-time buyers were even reconsidering whether they’ll make their first purchase in 2021. Data from Halifax1 revealed that in 2020 first time buyers would need an extra £10,000 deposit to join the property ladder compared to in 2019 and subsequently numbers dropped by 13%.
Despite the unpredictability that the virus has brought, the second half of the year saw transactions bounce back to only a 2% drop as the housing market boomed. My Home Move Conveyancing continued to operate remotely to support those in the process of moving house, seeing growth across 2020 despite the restrictions.
In fact, the pandemic has brought some unprecedented and surprising benefits for potential home movers. On the 8th of July 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold would be raised from £125,000 to £500,000 until March 2021. This meant those liable to pay the standard rate of SDLT would be able to save thousands – 66% of those polled indicated that the stamp duty holiday had been a leading factor in encouraging them to move.
COVID-19 has served as the push some people needed to change locations at home and at work, as the reopening of the house market in the latter part of 2020 saw a surge in the purchase of residential properties. A study by Rightmove2 found purchases of four bedroom detached houses and larger up by 104% as people sought more space, particularly when large proportions of the nation were furloughed or working from home. The study also found 63% of people wanted more garden space, better access to green or open spaces (31%) and to live in a rural area (30%).
Here at My Home Move Conveyancing, we believe knowledge is power. In fact, it was revealed that 82% of people would find moving house less stressful if they had a better understanding of the process. Over the last year, we’ve seen the number of people visiting our help pages increase by over 230%. And that’s where we can help with making your property journey run smoothly.
For anyone considering moving home this year, it’s important to keep informed and remember that allowances have been made for home movers. Whilst we recommend keeping up to date with the current rules and restrictions for your area, keeping an eye on government resources will give you all the reassurance you need to complete your home move as smoothly as possible.
Our top tips for moving in the pandemic are:
Stay up to date
The gov.uk website will hold all the information you’ll need to know both regarding the local lockdown in your area, and the current government restrictions. Currently in this third lockdown, moving house is permitted but keeping an eye on restrictions is key.
Consider a COVID-19 clause
COVID-19 clauses can allow home buyers to be confident in the home buying process. These allow for unavoidable delays caused by the pandemic that would otherwise incur a penalty for being in breach of contract, although they aren’t appropriate for everyone. You can discuss this with your conveyancing solicitor as soon as you instruct them.
Our conveyancers discuss COVID-19 clauses with all clients, so you can talk through your options and decide if adding a COVID-19 clause is right for your circumstances.
How flexible should I be with my house move?
Buying a home can be a long and stressful process at the best of times, not least during a pandemic. It’s vital to expect delays and be flexible. It can be difficult to predict the path COVID-19 will take so it’s important be realistic with timescales to avoid disappointment. Work with your conveyancing solicitor along the journey, and ask for key dates the rest of the chain might be working to.
Go online for your conveyancing
With more and more businesses across the UK now working remotely, it means the purchasing process doesn’t need to stop. Mortgage appointments through to dealing with your estate agent can now often be done online, with traditional conveyancing solicitors also finding new ways of working
My Home Move Conveyancing offers a full online conveyancing service. We know that you want to feel in control of your move – and we have the tools to give you full visibility of the work we are doing on your case at every step.
Your own dedicated conveyancer will complete your transaction from beginning to end and you’ll receive their direct phone number and an email address, so you know how to get hold of them whenever you need to. eWay, our online case management portal, enables you to track the progress of your case and see exactly where we are in the process, giving you full control.
Get a quote online in just a few clicks or chat to one of our quote advisers if you have any questions.
*Survey was completed in January 2021