2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone. That’s plain to see. But what is interesting is it’s seemingly counterintuitive impact on the property market.
Whilst many industries are seeing a severe downturn in trade and lockdown’s forcing temporary closure which drastically hits revenue, the UK property market has seemingly weathered differently.
There have certainly been problems though that’s clear to see, from, supply lines for building materials impacted in the early March lockdown, start dates for building new home developments requiring a drastic rethink, project overruns and even limited access to viewings from property buyers, all requiring a brand new strategy.
However many we are speaking to in the property industry, although they have seen lockdowns disrupt business, they haven’t wholly closed and a change of business practices has meant they can operate throughout rolling lockdowns and changing local tier systems for the most part.
Our experience is similar.
Having launched https://property.xyz/ during the pandemic (August 2020) and hired during lockdown it’s been a pretty unusual time that certainly wasn’t on our roadmap of challenges to face.
We have seen property searches vary wildly throughout 2020 but in the main, even in more recent local and now national lockdown, property buyer searches have only been down by around 10% in many property search verticals.
Rethinking the property buying market
Changes to working practices, in some ways for the better, from ourselves, our peers and our clients has meant though business can continue with a rethink of their systems and processes.As an example.
We have seen virtual viewings for agents become more common as a way of securing offers and house sales. This puts less reliance on viewing reps, show homes and high street offices.
This has meant less focus on more traditional marketing and a big priority on digital marketing, which we have been able to support our b2b clients with (estate agents, investment companies, auctions and new build home developers).
As a company we have also shifted traditional practices, like in person sales meetings to everything switched to virtual.
Like most companies, video conferencing has become second nature as well as using a range of tools to assist customer engagement, team engagement and progress.
Our go to tech tools have been:
Zoom for video conferencing
Slack for team communication
Trello for project managing
Xero for bookkeeping
Google workspace for a swiss army knife of business apps
2021 UK Property Growth or Decline ?
Who knows what 2021 has in store, but with recent news of a vaccine, rumbles of a possible extension to the stamp duty holiday and an extension to furlough, it’s clear there are signs on the horizon of a step back to a new normality and continued support for businesses to trade and even grow in 2021.
For the property market, my predictions are that moving house (homebuyers and tenants) will be top of mind for many as some seek more space and some wish to downsize depending on their family unit.
Being closer to family members will be critical for many and with no longer a requirement to be near a central office moving is a simple solution.
I think the fast pace change throughout 2020 of our assessment of our personal needs will see a big rethink of where people wish to live and spend their time, with work from home possibly here to stay for many the home will become essential to our whole environment.
This creates a possible blend which looks positive for a busy 2021 transaction heavy property market compared to 2020.
With that said, depending on your position in the industry, high street estate agency or new build home builder, for example, will have very different challenges.
So what’s your thoughts for 2021. Doom and gloom or a ray of hope and flurry of activity ?
By Robert Jones
Robert Jones is Co-founder of https://property.xyz/, a proptech search and research portal for investors and owner of https://www.propertyinvestmentsuk.co.uk/ which helps investors around the world learn more about the UK property market through articles, videos and area guides.