The COVID Effect - Helensburgh, Dumbarton, The Vale and Argyll
We are now over 22 months post-lockdown. When the property market effectively shut down for 3 or 4 months with nobody really knowing what would happen going forward and then suddenly it seemed like all hell had broken loose!
Residential property specialists - surveyors, solicitors and estate agents - were rushed off their feet like never before. And so much seemed to happen at once, it felt like there was literally an explosion of demand for property!
The pandemic saw almost everyone reassessing their lifestyles. Working from home was now much more acceptable, many required an additional room in their home to serve as an office and people were seeking out a better 'quality of life' generally - which often meant a new desire for outdoor space.
There appears to have been a geographical migration from the South of the UK to the North, and a move from cities to the countryside/more rural areas. This has certainly helped property prices in areas out-with busy UK cities and towns. Properties which [pre-covid] might have struggled to sell, now sell within weeks or even days.
Previously, it used to be relatively easy to pick up a unique property in Argyll - now there is hardly anything like this available and any property along those lines that comes onto the market tends to sell very quickly. In fact, estate agents are all now complaining about the lack of stock with buyers still abound.
The lack of stock and an increase in general demand has also seen house price inflation rise in rural areas to levels not seen since pre-2007/2008.
Furthermore, there are now record numbers of offers for properties and record sale prices. The likes of Helensburgh and Dumbarton are now closing the gap on the West End and suburbs of Glasgow, although there is still some way to go until they are on a par with each other. This has been good for some but not for others. It's made it more difficult for locals to afford property in their own area and for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
Notably in Scotland, the Western Isles property market has also been booming. Again, this is due to the combined factors of a lack of supply and good prices for sellers. In fact the islands have never been busier and it is now increasingly difficult to book your car onto a ferry. The ferries are full and lots of work is going on with more and more people investing in island life .
The question now is where do we go from here? In the first few days of November, estate agents reported lower levels of take-ons and enquiries were slightly down. Perhaps consumers were maybe starting to focus on other things and will wait until the New Year is over before doing anything.
*2022 has now begun and the market is slowly starting to emerge once again. Hopefully restrictions will start to ease too and as this happens there is some positivity and hope that the residential property market will commence strongly.