What's Happened to the Property Market Since Covid-19?
06 April 2022
It’s now been two years since the Government announced the first Covid-19 lockdown, and so much has happened in the Scottish property market since.
Here, we reflect on the changes and adjustments made to the market during the last two years, since the property market was effectively shut down in response to the pandemic, in spring 2020, and how it has responded since the initial restrictions were lifted later that summer.
A timeline of the Scottish property market throughout the pandemic
16 March 2020
The UK public is asked to limit all non-essential contact and travel by the UK Government. In response, many businesses begin working from home immediately, and property viewings are limited. Some solicitor estate agents respond by innovatively launching a variet of virtual viewings and valuations.
17 March 2020
The UK Government announces that homeowners can apply for a mortgage payment ‘holiday’ to help with financial hardship they may be facing due to the restrictions. It is estimated that more than 18 million homeowners took advantage of the scheme.
23 March 2020
Both the UK and Scottish Government announce the first national lockdown. The imposed restrictions become legally enforceable.
31 March 2020
The Scottish Government advises all house moves are delayed where possible.
28 May 2020
Phase One of the Scottish Government’s roadmap out of lockdown commences, which allows for ‘safe reopening of the housing market’.
29 June 2020
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, confirms that the restrictions on house moves will be relaxed. Activities, such as in-person property viewings and house moves may now go ahead, subject to the necessary health and safety precautions.
The Scottish Government announces an LBTT holiday, raising the threshold from £145,000 to £250,000, and additional investment in the First Home Fund to stimulate the market.
5 January 2021
A second national lockdown in Scotland is imposed. The Scottish Government confirms that activities connected with moving home can go ahead but are advised to be postponed if possible.
31 March 2021
The LBTT holiday comes to an end, returning the threshold to £145,000 (£175,000 for first-time buyers).
1 April 2021
The First Home Fund launches for first-time buyers, buy demand is so high that the fund is fully committed within a few days, then closes to new applications by 8 April.
16 December 2021
Open house viewings are now permitted in Scotland, for the first time since before March 2020.
21 March 2022
The Scottish Government confirms the removal of all legal requirements regarding Covid-19, except for face coverings to be worn in most indoor settings, including when working in other peoples’ homes.
How the property market has changed since March 2020
We’ve seen some significant changes within the property market since March 2020, with a two-year period of activity unlike anything we’ve seen in recent times. The market slowed to an almost complete holt during Spring 2020, but the resulting pent-up demand saw the market becoming a hive of activity that continued from Summer 2020 through into late 2021, as changing lifestyles and priorities saw buyers and sellers alike keen to act.