As we approach the end of one year and the start of a new one, it’s a time for reflection. There is no doubting that it has been a challenging and unusual year for the property market.

People were prohibited from moving home for seven weeks in the spring and since then, agents, homemovers and landlords have had to adapt to a new way of operating.

After reopening in mid-May, the market surged in a way no-one would have predicted. This strong level of activity – in both the sales and lettings markets – has been sustained for the remainder of 2020.

High demand for property, which has in-turn encouraged more people to sell and let, has been driven by a release of pent-up demand built-up over the spring lockdown, the stamp duty holiday and changing living priorities as a result of the pandemic.

As we move towards 2021 with hope for a more settled year and return to normality, the property market in Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill remains in good shape.

Below, we take a closer look at what has happened this year and analyse how the market could perform during the first few months of 2021.


A record-breaking year for the property market

Following an enforced shutdown in the spring, the property market has bounced back impressively this year.

The stamp duty holiday, which is estimated to ensure 90% of main property purchasers are exempt from paying the tax, has been a huge success in stimulating the market.

On top of this, a release of demand after the initial lockdown and people reassessing their priorities, looking for larger gardens, work from home space or proximity to coastal areas or countryside, has also provided higher than usual levels of demand for property sellers and landlords.

In August, Rightmove reported the highest number of sales agreed in a month for over ten years. The number recorded was 20% higher than the previous high at a total value of £37 billion.

During the same period, the highest number of properties came to market in a month since March 2008.

Meanwhile, over the course of the year, trade body NAEA Propertymark recorded the highest number of prospective buyers per estate agency branch over the last decade at 403.

This is compared to 320 on average throughout 2019 and a previous high of 379 in 2015.

In the lettings market, ARLA Propertymark revealed that the supply of rental homes was the highest on record this year, reaching 203 properties managed per branch, up from an average of 199 in 2019.

Demand-wise, the highest number of prospective tenants searching for homes registering with letting agents was also recorded in August, reaching 101 against an average of 86 across the year.

Here at Oakfield Estate Agents, the stability and resurgence of the market during the second half of 2020 has allowed us to expand our operations.

At the end of November, we were delighted to announce the acquisition of Andrews Estate Agents (Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne).

The Andrews portfolio of sales, lettings, and property management, as well as the current local team and Hastings prime flagship office, have been merged into Oakfield Estate Agents.


How will the East Sussex housing market perform in 2021?

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, it’s difficult to make any long-term predictions as the outlook remains uncertain due to the long-term impact of the pandemic.

However, assessing what could happen in the first few months of 2021, there is nothing to suggest strong levels of activity in the East Sussex housing market won’t continue.

The stamp duty holiday remains in play and although the end of March deadline is approaching, those who act quickly over the festive period could still benefit. What’s more, the prospect of saving thousands of pounds in tax is likely to keep attracting people to the market, even if they don’t end up benefiting.

On top of this, the national rollout of a Covid-19 vaccination has begun. This good news is likely to have a ripple affect in the property market, helping to rebuild consumer confidence and encouraging those who have been sitting on the fence to buy, sell, let or rent a property in 2021.

Rightmove has forecast national average house price growth of 4% next year, following 6.6% of growth this year after the unanticipated boom since May.

The website says the first three months of 2021 will be busy with 650,000 properties currently changing hands ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline.

It suggests that even after the tax cut ends, the market will continue to overperform due to housing needs staying high on people’s life agendas, a fresh start mentality and 53% more prospective buyers contacting agents than at this time a year ago.

Over the coming weeks and months, it will remain a good time to sell, let, buy or rent a property as high levels of activity look set to continue. January is traditionally one of the busiest months of the year for the property market and analysis is suggesting that next month could be even busier than usual.

To ensure you benefit from strong market fundamentals or for any further advice on the buying or selling process, please get in touch with us today. You can request a free instant online valuation to see how much your home could be worth.