House Prices: Is the Boom Real? - Tonight

When the country went into lockdown earlier this year the property market ground to a virtual standstill, but when it came back, it was with a bang. 

Reporter Helen Skelton finds out why so many of us are keen to buy and sell, with the state of the economy so uncertain and asks: could the property bubble be about to burst?

Activity in the housing market is still way above normal levels for this time of year. Figures from the Nationwide Building Society last week showed house prices rising at their fastest pace since January 2015.

One place that’s proved to be a real property hotspot recently is Formby on the North West coast. The property website Rightmove says that by early September this year, more houses had been sold here than during the whole of 2019. Rightmove also say city residents making enquiries about village properties rose by 126% in June and July compared to the same time last year.

Because of the pandemic I think a lot of people are looking to shift the work life balance, I think there's a requirement for space - both in the home and outdoor space as well.

Steph Macnab, Stephanie Macnab Estate Agents, Formby

One of the reasons we are seeing so much activity in the housing market at the minute is low interest rates. Another is the stamp duty freeze. Until the 31st of March next year buyers don’t have to pay any stamp duty on purchases up to £500,000. 

However not all properties are selling like hot cakes and some people are having to find innovative ways to move house. The Rowcroft family from Salford have always dreamt of moving to Australia, and decided that 2020 was the year that dream would finally come true, but when they put their five bedroom home on the market in February, for offers over £290,000, they had no joy.

By the summer the family were starting to give up hope, but then they heard about another family who had sold off their property - by raffling it!

Using a raffle website, they set themselves a goal of selling 200,000 tickets at £2 each, the whole family got involved and they even became minor celebrities.

We put leaflets everywhere, we put posters up everywhere, we had a big board outside the house... People would come from all over the UK just to drive past to see the house.

Natalie Rowcroft

The Rowcrofts’ hard work paid off and in September they reached their ticket sale target and they’ve made enough to give them a headstart when they embark on their new life in Brisbane. 

However, the Gambling Commission told Tonight, members of the public could face a fine or even imprisonment if convicted of running an illegal lottery, so they strongly urge anyone considering a property raffle to take legal advice. 

Although after the seven weeks of spring lockdown, the housing market has had some catching up to do, the strength of the bounceback has taken even seasoned observers by surprise.

I think it defies logic in terms of the economic climate, in terms of what will happen with employment, it’s strange that whilst everything else is in turmoil that the property market still remains buoyant.

Mark Hayward, The National Association of Estate Agents

If you’re looking to move right now, the advice is to make sure you’re as certain as you can be that the location is right for you and that you can weather any economic storms that could be on the horizon.

ITV Tonight’s ‘House Prices: Is the Boom Real?’ with Helen Skelton is on ITV this Thursday (November 5th) at 7:30pm.