Comment: Homeowners cash in on mini-boom as housing market prospers

Fears of a property crash remain unfounded - for now. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fears of a property crash remain unfounded - for now. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What a weird few months it’s been in the world of property.

We’ve gone from market freeze to mini-boom in what feels like about five minutes, and is actually only a little bit longer.

In the time it took a lot of movers to panic (fear of housing market crash), pause, get suddenly very excited (stamp duty holiday) and decide that now definitely is the time to buy, the climate had changed beyond recognition.

According to the Halifax, UK house prices were up by 3.8 per cent in the year to July and 1.7 per cent month-on-month.

Local agents tell me they’ve never been busier, and pent up demand is seen as the key driver for what Halifax managing director Russell Galley describes as a “surprising spike”. Who could honestly say they saw this coming?

With the market effectively closed during the early days of lockdown, many movers were left in limbo. Others, who hadn’t planned to move anytime soon, found their needs changing during their enforced stay at home.

It’s been well documented that the things we want from our homes have changed, and gardens and decent workspace are suddenly top of everyone’s list.

Conversely, with working from home remaining the norm for many of us, proximity to the station is no longer such a massive priority – confirmed by our Secret Estate Agent in his column this week.

But while homeowners bask in the sheer relief of the market not having collapsed yet, commentators continue to warn that the dreaded downturn could still come.

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Will things go horribly wrong once mortgage payment holidays and furlough are things of the past? Or will it take the end of the stamp duty holiday for the housing market to take a turn for the worse?

In truth, no one knows. For now, who can blame homeowners for making the most of a surprisingly positive period by cashing in?