As the English housing market is released from lockdown, prospective home owners will want to know whether the remaining months of 2020 will provide the right circumstances for a buyer's market. Will house prices go down, and will it be easier to negotiate a lower house price?
With home moves and house viewings now allowed, and lenders once again offering first-time buyer mortgages, those who have been after that dream home may want to hurry: the time to haggle for the house you've always wanted is now.
Property experts are predicting that there will indeed be a window of opportunity for first-time buyers to be in a position to negotiate the house prices down by substantial amounts – but that window will be small, no longer than six months.
In contradiction to the dramatic house price fall of 13 per cent issued by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, major UK estate agent chains such as Savills and Knight Frank are predicting more modest decreases of between four and six per cent this year, with the biggest impact likely to be felt up until the end of this year. The latest Halifax house price index is showing a drop in house prices of just 0.6 per cent in April.
Our advice is: if you are a first-time buyer and want to take advantage of falling house prices, you may not have very much time. There will be a buyer's market, but don't assume this will still be the case in 2021.
Also bear in mind that not all properties will come with significant price drops even immediately after the coronavirus lockdown. Property auctions, for example, are continuing to fetch well above the asking price in desirable areas such as London, so if you're after a prime location home, there may not be much of a difference when you try to buy one.