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What will happen to the property market?

2021 has been an eventful year for the property market, but what's on the horizon for house prices in the UK?

A bit of background:

How often do Brits move home?

According to figures from Zoopla, On average, Brits move home every 23 years. Quite a long time to stay put right? It’s not always been that way though. Indeed, back in the 80’s when the market was more buoyant people moved much more frequently, in fact, the average time between moves was just 8.63 years.

It’s not all as simple as that though as there are wide variations between different regions in the UK. For example in Powys, Wales, people stay put for much longer and move on average every 33.1 years. By comparison homeowners in Midlothian, Scotland, move every 14.9 years. How do you compare?

Where’s the most expensive place to live in England?

Figures from 2018 found that the most expensive properties in England can be found in the heart of Holland Park, where properties have a price tag of around £15.6m. Outside of the capital, you’ll find that homes in the HG2 postcode region, in beautiful Harrogate, North Yorkshire are priced at £1,631,000 on average.

In the North West, Cheshire is packed full of high-priced property thanks to many towns in the county being rural or in very close proximity to some beautiful countryside. The most expensive streets are located in Alderley Edge, Altrincham, Macclesfield and Knutsford, whilst properties in the SK9 postcode in Alderley Edge with homes that sell on average, for £2,304,000.

In the South West, properties in the BH13 postcode of Sandbanks, Poole, has the highest property cost, at £2,593,000 on average, whilst in the West Midlands, B94 in Solihull, boasts an average house price of £1,908,000.

Where’s the cheapest place to buy a property in the UK?

Based on figures for a 3-bedroom property, statistic from March 2020 revealed the 10 cheapest places to buy a property;

  1. Grimsby, Lincolnshire

  2. Stanley, County Durham

  3. Rhondda, Glamorgan

  4. Liverpool

  5. Stoke-on-Trent

  6. Leeds, West Yorkshire

  7. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

  8. Belfast and Antrim

  9. Hull

  10. Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Far from being grim, the town of Grimsby is a thriving seaport on the east coast, on the south bank of the Humber Estuary where it meets the North Sea. Although perhaps not as economically vibrant as it was in its heyday, job prospects are slowing improving. Here you can purchase a small but perfectly liveable 3-bedroom property for around £45,000, a little less if you’re prepared to do some work on it.

How big is the average UK family home?

According to Which? our homes are shrinking and are on average 20% smaller than they were in the 1970’s. Homes built in the last 10 years provide on average, just 67.8 square metres of living space. By comparison, across the pond, the average home in the USA is a whopping 701 square metres and have been getting bigger in the last 10 years. That’s quite some difference, isn’t it?

The biggest shrinkage in UK homes has been seen in living rooms, which provided 24.89 square metres back in the 1970’s and now provide on average just 17.09 square metres of living space.

On the upside though, our kitchens have increased a little and now provide 13.44 square metres of space compared to 12.27 in the 70’s, however, in America, the average kitchen is a whopping 66.8 square metres.

Where does the biggest student population in the UK live?

Thanks to its affordability and all-round student-friendliness, according to several sources, including Student Hut, Newcastle is the best destination for students and also houses the largest population of students anywhere in the UK.

Newcastle University scores highly across many categories, but students also highly rate the nightlife and general student experience of living in Newcastle. In case you’re wondering, Manchester comes a close second, followed by Brighton.

What will happen to the UK Housing market in 2022 - Some think it will continue to rise...

The UK’s housing market is likely to return to more normal levels of activity in 2022 but will still be busy, with strong buyer demand carrying forward into next year and a rebound in the number of homeowners apparently getting ready to sell, according to Rightmove.

The property website said that following a “frenzied” 18 months, the market was heading for a “less frenetic” period, with a more even balance between buyers and sellers as more homes are put up for sale and higher interest rates take some of the heat out of buyer demand.

It said one sign of a return to more traditional conditions was its finding that the market had experienced its usual “December dip”, with the average asking price of a home falling by 0.7% – or £2,234 – over the past month.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said that an interest rate rise was likely next year, and that while a rate rise was often regarded as unhelpful to the market, “a slowing of the fast pace of sales, and associated pace of price rises, will help the return to more normality that will suit many movers”.

The stamp duty holiday announced by the government in July 2020 has been credited with fuelling a boom in the property market and pushing up prices.

Some think the housing market will collapse...

One of the most vocal voices predicting a certain house price crash a few years from now is the visionary author and economist Fred Harrison. Harrison has successfully predicted the housing market crashes of 1990 and 2008, drawing conclusions from data from the past 300 years. Harrison’s view may seem overly pessimistic, and estate agents are normally wary of making predictions on this scale, especially if they are negative. However, some voices in the real estate business are already voicing concerns about the aftermath of the government’s artificial propping up of the housing market with the stamp duty holiday and other measures like that recent mortgage guarantee scheme.

Martin Lewis was one of the first and most outspoken opponents of measures that seem to benefit the housing market more than they do the longer-term needs of homeowners. Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, chimes in: ‘Enjoy the boom while it lasts because if history has taught us anything, a bust is likely to follow. The government’s insistence on artificially fuelling house prices, not only with a stamp duty holiday extension but now in the form of 95% mortgages and a rehash of the Help to Buy scheme, is irresponsible, to say the least.’ Cooper goes as far as to say that ‘with the market already buckling under the pressure, it’s only a matter of time before it gives in, bringing property values down with it.’ Fred Harrisons stark warning of a crash is currently five years away. So we’ll just have to wait and see if these warnings become a reality.

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