You might have seen and heard some alarming rumours about the state of the housing market as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures. But how does the current global crisis really affect the state of play right here in St Neots, right now?
Obviously no-one knows exactly what will happen but we can listen to people who have facts about the economy and those who are experienced in what happens to local property sales in difficult times.
We are so lucky here in St Neots that there are many factors affecting the value of properties, virus or no virus, and many of them will still be valid now. And at Giggs and Co we’ve got more than 30 collective years of estate agent experience in the local housing market.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Improving access to Cambridge and the new A14 have improved traffic links to key parts of the country’s economy.
- The St Neots rail link to London is fast and efficient, and after the lockdown measures are lifted there is a prediction that many families will want to move out of the capital to live in places that have cleaner air and better health statistics.
- Ready for that market St Neots has top performing primary schools, great open spaces and a very active, supportive community - something that has really come to the fore during recent months.
- For £500,000 in St Neots you can buy a four bedroomed house with a double garage and sizeable garden. In North West London right now that investment would give you at most a three bedroomed flat with no promise of a garden and only on-street parking.
If you bear those things in mind and then take a look at the greater picture of world economics, you’ll see it’s starting to show a shift in investor behaviour away from the stock markets and toward property investment. This is simply because bricks and mortar right now is considered less volatile as an investment over a two to five year period.
It’s a mobile market
Put simply, for every family wanting to move out of London for a better quality of life there will be an investment buyer willing to buy their property. This is enough for us to think about the local market as mobile.
Add to those ingredients the huge number of people who first waited for Brexit to be over before deciding to sell their house and who then had to wait for lockdown measures to be lifted… just before the COVID-19 restrictions there was some incredibly positive activity on the property portals - Rightmove alone saw 150 million page views in January and February - indicating a big increase in people looking to move. Those individuals have had to wait what might become a further 12 weeks.
This pent up need to move house is going to release itself as soon after lockdown as people can get themselves ready. In fact we’re finding that people in the know are preparing now so that they can benefit from so many interested viewers.
We can almost certainly predict, further crises aside, that the upturn in statistics for this activity in the housing market will start to show in the final quarter of the year. This could potentially lead to an average house price increase of 5% (according to Roger Martin-Fagg, economist, at a recent Property Academy webinar).
What about mortgages?
Finally let’s look at mortgages. Rumours have been bandied about that lenders are in complete lockdown. This is not the case. Paul Spoelstra from Assured Mortgage Advice in St Neots is seeing some fantastic rates from lenders, based on virtual valuations - at the moment, with a 10% deposit, you can achieve an interest rate of just 1.79%.
There is so much evidence, rather than rumour, that the property market in St Neots is active now and set to be vibrant and mobile in just a few weeks’ time.
If you are thinking about a move, now might be the right time to give your local estate agent a call. Contact us if you want to know more.