What’s on the cards for property in 2022: Will the mass exodus to the countryside continue? How will hybrid working effect the market? Here’s our expert’s predictions.
The Wizard of Oz got it right: There’s no place like home. So we asked Muddy property guru Fiona Penny – who founded Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders 14 years ago and knows both the property industry and this area of the country inside out – to tell us the top 5 trends in the market right now.
1. HOUSE SALES HALVED
Towards the end of 2021 house sales tumbled after the extended stamp duty holiday ended. Yup, the party was over and as a result – in the weeks following the government’s end-of-September deadline – house sales fell by more than half. This led to the quietest October/November the property market has seen for almost a decade.
Fiona Penny expands: ‘What’s more, potential sellers, worried about finding a house themselves, were reluctant to put their own house on the market – leading to a classic Catch 22 situation.’
2. KENT REMAINS POPULAR
But it’s not all bad new, folks. Property prices in Kent have remained strong. There has always been a steady stream of families moving out of London to Kent, the Garden of England. But during, the pandemic, in those periods in between Lockdowns, the steady trickle became more of a flood (yup, we’re running with that metaphor). Particularly as country houses in Kent are remarkably good value compared to those in neighbouring Sussex or Surrey.
Fiona adds: ‘Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Cranbrook, Folkestone and Canterbury are some of the areas that saw the biggest growth in average house price between 2020 and the end of 2021.’
3. IN LOVE WITH THE ‘BURBS
Lockdown and WFH meant a race for space – houses in villages and the depths of the countryside were most in demand and this led to record spending on rural properties.
But 2022 will see the rise of hybrid working — part at home, part in the office — and this is predicted to deepen our passion for the suburbs. Fiona adds: ‘So while the chase for homes in the countryside seems set to continue, prices in commuter areas should remain strong too.’
4. YOU NEED AN ADVANTAGE
At the end of last year (2021) Estate Agents reported having half the number of houses on their books than they did in 2020. Fiona Penny confirms that, in her on-the-ground experience, there has never been a time when you had to move faster – and there’s never been more competition – than now.
Fiona adds: ‘I estimate around 75 per cent of the properties which our clients have bought in the last 12 months were not on the open market. That’s the advantage of using a specialised home finder – you can buy or sell property through private transaction.’
With a huge number of people wanting to move into the Kent area, whether it’s buying or renting (which is also popular), there are simply not enough properties to satisfy the demand.
The solution? ‘There’s no magic wand, but a property finder can really give you the edge and may help prevent you getting into a dreaded bidding war, going to sealed bids or you could even avoid paying over the odds,’ explains Fiona.
5. FOCUS ON EDUCATION
This summer might see the first return to normal GCSE and A Level exams in years, but Lockdown and the disruption to learning of the last two years has had a big impact on many. Fiona confirms: ‘Choosing the right area, with the best schools – that offer excellent pastoral care – is very much the number one priority reported amongst parents.’
Areas with good schools will be popular – whether that’s state, grammar or independent – and Kent has got them all. A good home finder service will be able to help on the school front too – using their local contacts and knowledge of important things, like school catchment areas. Fiona adds: ‘We would always advise helping you find the right school before finding you the right home.’