A small model house with a set of keys, indicating a new house move.

How lockdown 3.0 is affecting the housing market

The Manchester housing market is booming. As the country is plunged into a 3rd Coronavirus lockdown, the rules and regulations this time around are more similar to the ones of the March 2020 lockdown. The country has built up infrastructure over the last 10 months to deal with daily life safely and efficiently this time around. Since there is no official date for the end of lockdown (as of yet), it may be useful to familiarise ourselves with the guidelines to stay as safe as possible while moving house. Learn how self-storage can help you.

Can I still move house?

Sold sign

In England, and across the rest of the UK, house moves are still permitted to go ahead. This applies to people who are continuing with planned moves that are already in the process, as well as new movers, viewing properties to move into in the future. The government is advising, where possible, for people to be flexible and be prepared to delay their house move. For example, you may be put on hold if the house you are due to move to is currently housing people who are self-isolating or shielding, as they will not be able to vacate until their quarantine period has finished.

It is also important to note that although estate and lettings agents, removers, valuers, and storage facilities are considered essential and will be operating during this period, they may be working reduced hours, using less staff. Therefore, there will be a preference for online, virtual viewings. If you are going to view a property, it is advised that you only do it whilst the current occupants are out and the simplest way to stay safe is by sanitizing your hands before & after entering the property and wearing a face covering.

What is happening to the market?

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Since July 2020, house prices have been rising, with Manchester seeing the largest increase in average house prices since last year. According to Rightmove’s records, December’s asking prices across the country were up 6.6% from last year, a rise that has been consistent over the past few months. This increase is likely to be due to the nation’s need for more space now that working from home has become the new norm; as well as the ongoing stamp duty holiday which will be in place until 31st March 2021. The stamp duty holiday allows people who are purchasing homes up to the price of £500,000 to be exempt from paying any tax on the property. In some cases, buyers can save themselves up to £15,000, meaning there has been a surge in people trying to move quickly to beat the deadline. This could explain why asking prices have gone up, especially in more sought after areas where people may be willing to pay more if they are saving on tax.

However, time may be against you if you want to take advantage of the holiday as high demand has slowed the industry right down. There have been reports of mortgage valuations taking weeks to come through, causing a massive backlog. Many experts predict that the price increase will slow down from 1st April onwards, with house prices staying largely flat throughout 2021. Although Chancellor Rishi Sunak has no plans to extend the stamp duty holiday, he is expected to delay tax increases until autumn, meaning the housing market will gradually get back to “normal”.

How storage can help

Storage facility in Manchester with orange doors

If you were hoping to upsize your home and the backlog is causing delays for you, you may want to think about using storage to help adapt your living space to suit your needs. Since April 2020, 47% of people in the UK have done at least part of their work from home. This can become taxing on your mental health if it is done over long periods of time, causing depression and anxiety, most commonly due to isolation or burn out. Many workers feel compelled to work longer hours to prove that they are staying productive out of the office, as well as feeling unable to distinguish work time from personal time – especially if it is all being done in the same place.

If working from home is likely to be sticking around for the foreseeable future, it may be worth converting a spare room or area in your home into an office space. Having a dedicated workspace is vital for creating a work/life balance in your home. It allows you to focus and minimises distractions – boosting your productivity and allowing you to switch off at 5pm, helping to maintain healthy relationships with yourself and your family. Creating that space for yourself and putting some rarely used things into storage can be very beneficial for getting you through the pandemic.

Apex Self Storage can provide the space you need to give you that peace of mind. Our opening hours have stayed the same:

All 8 sites across Greater Manchester

Mon-Fri: 08:30 – 17:30
Saturday: 09:00 – 13:00
Sunday: Closed