Suffolk experiences property boom – but new lockdown fears could call a halt
PUBLISHED: 05:30 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:27 16 October 2020
Fears are being voiced that tougher measures to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases may be bringing an end to the post-lockdown property boom.
The industry had experienced a significant rise in sales, understood to be due to the stamp duty holiday introduced by the government in July which runs until March.
The rise in sales is also thought to have been fuelled by those working from home who have found themselves with a larger disposable income thanks to savings on travel and parking expenses.
In Felixstowe, house prices have continued to grow, while “record sales levels” have been recorded locally according to Scott Beckett director Steve Scott.
Mr Scott said: “Upon the release of the lockdown it appeared that the public generally was maybe not spending as much money on holidays or purchasing cars. However, with low interest rates, moving home seemed to be an option the public still seemed to favour.
“This stamp duty holiday had an immediate effect on the higher end of the market meaning that certainly in Felixstowe the entire market was and continues to be exceptionally buoyant with record sales levels being recorded.”
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Mr Scott added sales are up 40% compared to the same period last year, although he admitted the sales process was taking longer than usual due to the pandemic while lenders had increased deposits for first-time buyers.
Mark Sawyer, general manager of Marks and Mann, said the year had been “beyond expectations”, but added the introduction of the new lockdown system and a second wave of coronavirus had brought the positivity to an abrupt halt.
Mr Sawyer said: “Things had been going very, very well up until this week with the new Covid lockdown system – now it has slowed down dramatically.
“Before then, we had been going fantastically, but now it has just died a death. You know when Covid and lockdowns begin being mentioned that you can notice a downturn.
“May to September were astonishing months, things were incredibly buoyant – when you add in the stamp duty exemption, the market was absolutely filled.
For what the rest of October and November will bring, God only knows.”
Mr Sawyer said he was optimistic for next year, with both agents expecting Suffolk to prove popular with people from the capital who can work from home.
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