Comment: Wondering when the property bubble is going to burst...

The market in St Albans and Harpenden looks bright... but dark clouds may be looming. Picture: Archant

The market in St Albans and Harpenden looks bright... but dark clouds may be looming. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

One thing I’ve been wondering, as I open boxes, grimace at the miscellaneous contents, and quickly close them again, is when the current property bubble is going to burst.

It seems about five minutes ago that the market was frozen, most agents were furloughed and wannabe movers like me were wondering what was going to happen with our stalled property transactions.

As we fretted about what the future held, the most common response from every other self-styled expert I spoke to was that a crash was imminent and now was a terrible time to buy.

“Prices are going to plummet,” they’d mutter. “There’s no way I’d buy a house at a time like this.”

Aside from being exceptionally irritating to hear - I wanted my move to proceed regardless of what these doom-mongers had to say on the matter - it also turned out - in the short term, at least - to be completely wrong.

Ask any local estate agent and they’ll tell you that the post-lockdown market has been busier than ever and prices have continued to rise - thanks in no small part to the buzz created by the stamp duty holiday.

So, when is the bubble going to burst?

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We put this question to our Secret Estate Agent this week, and even he wasn’t sure. “Truth is,” he said, “no one knows.”

My guess is that things will continue in the current upbeat vein until the chance of completing before the stamp duty holiday ends becomes that bit too remote. And with the cut-off of March 31 drawing ever closer, this side of Christmas looks a likely end point for all but the most straightforward of sales (and who ever really knows they’re getting one of those?)

Of course, some argue the stamp duty holiday makes no difference in reality, as prices have been ramped up to allow for it. We’ll have to wait and see what impact its ending has on the market.

Me, I’m just glad to finally be in, and don’t intend to move again, ever.