Although by no means the worst hit sector in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK property sector has taken a sizable knock, which it is only in truth starting to recover from. Property sales practically dried up and many people who were close to completion when it came to property purchases, either pulled out of the process or delayed their purchase. It is in part, due to this that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced the freeze for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to reinvigorate the market.
Property investor and entrepreneur Rex Ekaireb said of the property market: “With so many purchases, sales and investments in the UK put on hold or called off, it is going to take some time for things to even get close to returning to ‘normal’ as the pandemic hopefully abates…” Ekaireb continued: “We are living in unprecedented times and the moves made by the Chancellor should help to kickstart property sales and purchases which should be applauded.”
Since the UK has started to cautiously and optimistically reopen, sales and purchases of properties have been increasing and in turn so too has demand in the market. Although of course positive news for the economy, the country and the property industry, this surge in demand has, at least in the short term pushed property prices higher. This means that although there is some brighter times ahead, first time buyers in particular will find it increasingly challenging to get onto the housing ladder.
The Stamp Duty holiday announced by the Chancellor however, is set to save the average property buyer many thousands of pounds. With properties whose value is less than £500,000, there is to be no Stamp Duty and for properties valued at more than £500,000, no Stamp Duty is payable on the value up to £500,000.
In terms of the rental market too, things have been tumultuous with many tenants unable to pay their rent and their bills due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Although many people in the UK were placed on furlough under the government’s Job Retention Scheme, there have been large numbers of tenants who have been left unemployed or otherwise unable to pay their rent.
Additionally, and as a knock-on effect of the inability of tenants to pay rent and their other dues, many landlords have also felt the pinch.
Rex Ekaireb said: “Tenants have been hit hard by this pandemic, and the effects of unpaid rent in turn affect landlords. Ultimately, rental payments help pay for things like service charges and maintenance.”
Rex Ekaireb also said: “For the most part, most tenants and the vast majority of landlords have both been very understanding when it has come to this unprecedented pandemic and all that it has brought with it. Tenants have a duty to pay their rent and landlords have a duty to look after their tenants. Thus, there will almost always be a relationship there and channels of communication between all parties and that is what has helped get all parties through these difficult times.”