Things to know about moving in 2021


There’s plenty to get to grips with if you’re thinking of moving this year, so here are some things to know about moving in 2021.

From a stamp duty holiday that could save you thousands, through to navigating online viewings here are some of top things to consider:

1.     Government support

First things first, most of us know that Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a stamp duty holiday that could save you up to £15,000 if you buy a property worth £500,000 or more last year. However, the tax cut currently only runs until 31 March 2021. MPS are lobbying for this to be extended to help keep the economy moving and a petition of over 100,000 signatures is being debated in Westminster. It’s expected we won’t know the outcome until the Chancellor’s March budget statement. Its widely accepted sales generated since December have a slim chance of making 31 March deadline, however, some will just make it depending on funding source and the workload of the solicitors involved. 

The government has also extended the deadline of its Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which eligible buyers can use to buy a new-build home.

Previously, builders needed to have finished construction by the end of December for buyers to quality for the loan. But this timeframe has been pushed out to 28 February 2021, with the deadline for legal completion remaining at 31 March 2021, to help buyers whose plans have been delayed by coronavirus.

2. Mortgage availability

The number of mortgage deals shrunk in the wake of coronavirus, with many lenders pulling their high loan-to-value mortgages (in other words, loans for people borrowing a high proportion of the property’s value). This particularly impacted first-time buyers.

A survey by an online housing marketing tool revealed that more than a third (35%) of people aged under 35 have had their home move delayed, driven in part by the withdrawal of 85%-plus loan-to-value mortgages.

But mortgage rates are, generally speaking, very competitive, particularly at low loan to values.

3. The new ‘normal’

Yes, the housing market is back open, but things have changed a little. Physical viewings are taking place, but precautions are needed, so be prepared to do more virtual viewings in the first instance. Our co-director Russell Griffin sits on the Propertymark advisory board (the professional body for estate agents) and is advising Propertymark in their weekly briefings.

Flexibility is key too. You may encounter delays if people in your chain or related to your transaction show coronavirus symptoms or need to self-isolate. Meanwhile, there is the possibility of further regional lockdowns.

4. Development angle

If you’re keen to roll up your sleeves, now could be a good time to buy a doer-upper. That’s because the government has proposed new rules to allow you to add two storeys to your home without the normal planning permission. The extension could either become part of the main home or a self-contained property, like a granny annexe.

The reform means that you could significantly expand the size of your home, and potentially miss out another rung of the housing ladder.

Permitted development rights are already in place to allow certain work to be carried out without planning consent.

5. Property searches

Lockdown has given many people a chance to take stock and re-evaluate their home and lifestyle. And with the housing markets now back open for business, it’s perhaps not surprising that buyer demand is shifting.

More than half of home-hunters in our survey have changed their priorities since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Some 44% of those whose criteria have changed are now looking to move closer to the countryside, like Shropshire, parks or the coast. And the under 35s have recorded the biggest shift in priorities, with one in five saying they’re more likely to compromise on features, such as prioritising private outdoor space over an additional bedroom.

For more expert advice when it comes to buying, selling, letting or renting, please call us here at Samuel Wood Estate Agents.

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