Circles of uncertainty from many industry insiders point to the potential effects of the Omicron Covid variant currently circling the nation, with forecasts of doubt on the housing boom and housing market in particular.
With the quicker pace of laboratories providing anecdotal evidence at a much faster reaction compared to 2020s efforts providing some positive outlook, it is still difficult to gauge the effect that the housing market will have if any.
Uncertain Start to 2022
The new variant could produce a delay in the anticipated interest rate rise, a previous dead cert among analysts for the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee meeting this week.
With expected rising rates and growing supply set to start applying downwards pressure on prices in 2022, the Omicron variant has raised concern that, if proved to be serious, may affect supply and demand around the timing of the rate rise – causing frustration and uncertainty in the outlook.
A clear trend that is certain is that demand has shifted back towards the Southern area of London, which is clear when looking at the change in volume of new prospective buyers registering interest over the previous 3 months in comparison to 12 months ago.
Whilst areas in prime central London saw their biggest ever increases at 78 per cent or above, they were still dwarfed by the demand for more countryside escape moves that saw a huge increase in 2020 and resulted in a majority seeking to buy property in Stockport and other rural areas.
Many overseas buyers are preparing to enter the market again in 2022, and it means that they are following the Omicron variant situation in a very close manner to determine their course of action. With more buyers registering from overseas and the Middle East, the market still seems to be in a precarious holding pattern.
Domestic buyers are providing the lion’s shares of current activity, with several sellers of London property still seeking a move to the country. Others include those who have moved to the country but want a second property with a more city central base.
Supply is set to get somewhat stronger at the beginning of 2022 – providing the Omicron variant does not drastically alter the landscape of the country as Covid did in 2020. The vicious circle of low supply was instigated by the Black Friday levels of house sales centred around the stamp duty holiday, resulting in owners not being able to find homes to move into themselves.
With sellers now looking to postpone their house sales until after the Xmas period is over, 2022 is looking to see a surge of new properties going to market. How Omicron will play into the 2022 housing landscape/ housing boom, but the response to this level of the variant has seen a rush to combat it at the head.