Earlier this year, the housing market was abruptly halted as a ban on property completions was enforced. Across many areas of the UK, buyers questioned their decisions to commence their own property hunt, leading to many people pulling out, especially in city centres. Holmfirth and Huddersfield, on the other hand, saw a more positive response with many buyers determined to move in sooner. Some key movements in our industry included:
- Properties in Yorkshire had an overall average price of £198,815 over the last year and sold prices remain 1% higher than last year (6% up from the peak of 2017).
- The majority of sales in Yorkshire during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £180,914 and over £224,000 in Holmfirth.
- Terraced properties sold for an average of £142,391 (£175,132 in Holmfirth), with detached properties fetching £317,807 (£377,878 in Holmfirth).
With many national firms continuing to encourage working from home, semi-rural locations in the UK have become much more favourable. As Huddersfield boasts excellent motorway and train links to Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, we anticipate (and hope) demand for homes will remain strong in the coming months.
The Stamp Duty holiday will conclude at the end of March 2021, and we will also wait to see if the government considers potentially guaranteeing 95% mortgages, as many first-time buyers have been left unable to purchase this year — resulting in an increased demand for rental homes.
Our team has worked tirelessly to develop internal processes, to help tenants, buyers and sellers remain safe — as well as protected as we continue to meet drastic demand changes.
Overnight video creation, new roles and training — as well as new systems enabling full remote working where possible — have presented their own challenges.
We have also had to manage the disappointment of nearly 100 people who have lost a property when putting an offer forward as it has gone to a higher bidder. This has been the case with rental properties, with numerous hopefuls applying for properties within minutes of them becoming available.
Employing a team of individuals who really do care can help to alleviate potentially stressful situations.
Despite everyone’s challenges, we’ve noted a positive response — from buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords — as we continue to work together to come to the best possible outcome. Our tenants have been fantastic, even those who have struggled with payments. Clear communication and empathy have enabled us to reach a £0 rent arrears level as we enter the final stage of 2020 too.
Our new business generation has continued to increase after so many of our clients kindly recommended us to friends and family – our team is incredibly grateful for this, so thank you.
Our contractors have been nothing short of amazing and we sincerely thank you for always doing your absolute best and somehow meeting most deadlines we set — even those within a few hours!
And a further personal thank you from me…
In regular ‘sink or swim’ moments, I feel that my team and I have gasped for breath and paddled like mad, ensuring we always reached the surface to provide an exceptional level of customer service. We have learnt a lot — not only about the business and industry — but about ourselves and the team. Every person has pulled together and we have even managed to welcome new team members to handle demand.
On a personal note, the first lockdown was unbelievably challenging for me and filled with worry about so many things — especially the company and the team that I feel completely responsible for. I was also reminded of my passionate for the business and how much I love going to work and seeing my colleagues, who I also class as friends.
I believe it’s important to remain grateful for our health and to continue to support our community throughout 2021. We’ll keep doing this by adhering to strict social distancing guidelines when carrying out viewings, inspections and other property visits.
And finally, we will stay open over this festive season — apart from the bank holidays — however our office doors will close on the 29th, 30th and 31st December as our premises will be re-painted.
I hope that you manage to enjoy the Christmas period, despite the restrictions in place, and have a very happy New Year!