It’s a little over eighteen months ago since the property market was plunged into darkness. Nobody could ever have predicted the craziness that would follow over the last year as a result of the Pandemic. We have witnessed a steep rise in prices all over the Lake District National Park, with a different type of buyer emerging from all over the UK – wanting to relocate to the Lake District to seek a quieter life away from busy places in the countryside.
The tide has turned; no longer are people tied to their office buildings, flexible working is the new norm with employers allowing more freedom to choose how and where you work. As a result, those who were considering moving are now finding the confidence to do so.
Many estate agents in the Lake District National Park are reporting that valuations are on the increase, but instructions remain low, but all agree, as would I, that at the present time, we are in a seller’s market!
I was recently asked if the heat had gone out of the current market as we head towards the end of summer; I quickly responded, “No. In fact, I would go so far as to say we are seeing a more focused buyer.” Time is running out to secure a home before Christmas, so those serious about moving will do so over the next few months.
We are finding that more and more sellers are also getting in touch because of the current speed at which the housing market is moving. It’s not necessarily a pleasant market to be in if you are looking to move and buy your next property.
Some buyers are now opting to allow me to see their homes, with the aim of flexibility over moving dates.
Flexibility is generally the favoured option for a number of sellers now, and I have seen a definite increase in the last six to eight weeks.
Looking to the future, I can see things slowly slowing down, and I can see the number of buyers dropping, but I still envisage that the number of cash buyers will drive the figures over asking prices on investments and centrally based properties. However, those with slightly ‘less desirable’ properties, such as those on the fringes of the National Park, with homes that would have struggled to sell only a couple of years ago, will likely see a price decrease, although not by a huge amount at this stage.
Things are unlikely to change over the next six to twelve months within the Lake District National Park, unless something radical changes.
I was recently approached by a local hairdresser looking for advice; she wanted to get on the housing ladder in the Kendal area. My advice was that there is no need to rush, as Kendal is on the outskirts of the National Park. I advised her to stay where she is and wait until next year before looking for a flat. The reason for my advice was that everything is selling at a premium at the moment; by waiting a year, the market will begin to slow down.
I also recommended that she speak to a financial advisor to find the best mortgage and save as much money as she can. Flats in Kendal previously never sold quickly, so as the market cools, she will have greater options open to her.
In the coming year, there will be changes due to the Bank of England base rate and mortgage rates will inevitably rise, making borrowing more expensive, saving rates will increase; however, the ‘live for the now’ mind shift may be here to stay, with people choosing rather to spend money on lifestyle and property investments rather than saving money.
It has to be said that the UK has bounced back better than expected after the last eighteen months, but now all eyes are fixed firmly on the end of September as the Furlough Scheme draws to a close and unemployment will rise. So, my prediction for the next six months is that prices will remain high, particularly in the National Park. This is due to the amount of cash buyers who were unattached, looking to buy property. However, once we get past the next six months and head into 2022, it will be very interesting to see what happens with savings and base rate mortgages both in the rest of the UK and within the National Park. Watch this space!