After the year we had in 2020 and the many unexpected challenges that unfolded throughout the year, the majority of industries have had to adapt or put business plans on hold. With that in mind let's look to 2021 to see where the property industry is going.
So here are my 6 Predictions for 2021
1. Short Let (Serviced Accommodation)
With many issues with the vaccine rollout and the possibility of needed a vaccine passport or paying for tests prior to flying anywhere, this is putting added cost, risk (if you test positive, you can't fly and lose all the money you've spent) I can see many putting off holidays abroad. Add in the fact there will be people who are frightened to travel to far-off lands. I can see holidaying at home - staycations - being massive in 2021 and the next few years.
When people do travel, would you want to be in a hotel room, sharing corridors and restaurant with 100's of other people, or would you want your own place?
I can see the holiday let, Airbnb market growing massively when the lockdown eases and you NEED to be in it. Just remember this is not a passive property strategy - it's hospitality.
2. Capital Gains Tax changes on the horizon?
As the government looks for solutions to boost the recovery of the economy, an overhaul of Capital Gains Tax is widely expected to be one likely scenario. This will have a significant impact on property investors and how they operate, with some landlords potentially selling their properties to beat the deadline.
I see this is an opportunity to buy properties from tired landlords, ready to sell before changes come into force. I can also see Lease Options being used with larger landlords to spread the sale of properties over a number of tax years!
3. Rental market is still performing well
However, property investors with a more long-term strategy will be boosted by the continual strength of the rental market, which at some points in 2020 saw demand for private rental properties increase to up to 20% higher than the previous year, according to Zoopla’s UK Rental Market Report.
One of the factors that is contributing to a strong rental demand is that job stability is lower as a consequence of COVID-19. Many people have been furloughed and lots of redundancies are already taking place as businesses reel from the impact of the pandemic. As a result, people with less job certainty are likely to rent for longer, rather than take the step into property ownership sooner.
So many businesses have only just started to see the effects of lockdown and other COVID-19 related issues on their revenue, so there is still a lot worse to come in terms of businesses going into administration or significantly cutting staff numbers. While this is a very unwelcome position for the people affected and the UK economy as a whole, it does mean that rental demand is likely to be high for some time.
4. Rental prices are increasing
Along with the increase in rental demand, we have also seen rental prices increasing everywhere in the country apart from London. This brings us onto another big property trend driven by the health pandemic; the desire to move out of the cities, especially London, to find somewhere more spacious and with better access to outdoor space.
5. Changes in demand for property type and location
The constraints of lockdown and the increase in people working from home has caused many people to reflect on their living arrangements. Being confined to a small property with no garden or nearby parks has resulted in city dwellers looking to move away from the city to live in more suburban areas.
These changes of priorities for people searching for property will have a major impact on property investment sector and for anyone considering buying property to rent out, these trends need to be factored into their buying strategy.
One of the key elements of being a successful property investor is to buy property in areas where demand is high. For the next few years at least, the demand will see a shift away from city centre properties with limited space, with a higher proportion of tenants looking to get more space for their money.
Many will be looking for an extra room that can be used as a home office, as well as preferring properties with an ample outdoor area that they can use when the weather is warmer. Instead of wanting to be walking distance from their city office, or the nightlife scene, more people will be looking to find properties that give them easy access to places of beauty, such as lakes and scenic hilly hiking trails.
6. Student accommodation still in demand
Despite the problems that university students have faced in 2020 and the move over to online lessons in many cases, in 2021 there is still expected to be a large demand for student accommodation for the next academic year, with high numbers of foreign students applying for UK universities.
With the vaccination programme now well under way in the UK, it seems that property will continue to be a good investment prospect, as long as investors are able to adapt to changing rental trends and tax changes.
2021 is far from being a bleak picture with a strong rental market, including high demand in many areas, as well as increasing rental prices, the property investment sector should continue to provide good investment opportunities, especially if house prices start to fall.