Aside from everything else, 2020 was the year that really put our homes to the test. The pressures of homework and schooling pushed them to submit.
In our apartment, clutter has taken over: boxed and boxless monitors invade every table, laptops teeter on stacks of books and spout out of every room.
The wedge is a mass of tangled, uncleanable cables, like a bad case of Japanese knotweed.
At the start of the lockdown, a coworker tweeted that we don’t work so much at home as we do at work. He was right – except that in the office, neighbors don’t bump and crash all day as they lie in the attic.
In April, after the first lockdowns in Europe, the UK and the US, Google’s global searches for “DIY” hit record levels. Sales of premium paint brands such as Farrow & Ball surged; Mylands Paint’s general manager even took a forklift driving test so he could help change controls.
Bitten by the home improvement bug, my wife and I revamped all of the furniture in our living room. A few weeks ago, we put everything back. Turns out there’s no way to place a sofa that will make a 30 square foot room bigger.
Our homes have become everything for us this year: offices, classrooms, restaurants, weekend retreats – it’s no wonder we’re fed up.
This is a level of contempt usually reserved for the weeks after Christmas when, after being locked up with our families for days on end, the traffic on real estate portals begins to increase.
Between December 26 of last year and January 8, the number of daily visits to Rightmove increased by 71%.
This year is different, of course, but Camilla Dell, Managing Partner of Black Brick Buying Agents, still thinks people will find time to have a crazy party scroll.
“This time of year, people are always drawn to portals for good ol ‘real estate porn – and maybe this year more than ever because, let’s face it, there isn’t much to do, ”she said.
“But it remains to be seen if that will result in a wave of new deals in the new year. I think a lot of people who want to move this year have already.
Real estate agents have come to celebrate the start of the year as one of the
the busiest hours of the calendar.
But in early 2021, the ‘mini boom’ in the UK real estate market could start to falter, as a series of government programs that have helped shield house prices from the economic realities of the coronavirus crisis are pulled.
The Stamp Duty holiday – which waives fees on the first £ 500,000 of any home purchase, saving buyers up to £ 15,000 – is due to end on March 31.
When it was announced on July 8, approximately 8.5 million people logged into Rightmove to see what was on offer; it was the busiest day of the year on the portal.
The end of March also marks the end of business loan programs and new applications for the mortgage vacation program. One month later, the workers’ leave program will end.
House and house unlocked
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We are, fortunately, in the process of deploying the vaccine against the coronavirus,
but one can guess how long the UK property market will be able to continue its gravity-defying race – which, given the UK’s worst economic recession in 300 years, is a source of perpetual bewilderment.
Last month, the average house price was 7.6% higher than in November 2019, according to Halifax, the highest annual growth rate in four years.
Even now, the booming market is not felt by everyone. Many first-time buyers have seen their dreams shattered by the impact of the pandemic on their income and savings.
Many of them have struggled to secure financing as lenders have curtailed the availability of higher value mortgages – although this is slowly coming back.
Most importantly, I remember the homeowners I spoke to this year who had to put their lives on hold because they got caught up in the siding crisis.
A campaign group estimates that 1.93 million people in England cannot sell their apartments because they need a new fire safety certificate, known as Form EWS1, before lenders offer mortgage loans to potential buyers.
Among them there will be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, who will have to deal with spending Christmas in homes where they do not feel safe.
Rather, it puts a few unruly monitors and cables into perspective.
Nathan Brooker is Editor-in-Chief of House & Home
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