With Britain facing it’s biggest health emergency in over 100 years we’ve all had to adapt to some unprecedented measures in 2020. Indeed it seems that we’re likely to see further restrictions well into 2021, even with the very positive news of vaccines. But, of course (at the time of writing) we have no concept of their effectiveness, who will be entitled to them or indeed, when they might even become available.

property in Harlow and Essex

Such uncertainty has, naturally, played havoc with the business world too. For us at Howick and Brooker <link>it’s been one of the strangest years we can remember. From the doom and gloom of the first and second quarter of the year sales have been extraordinarily good for us, particularly around Bury Road and the Old Town.

Nationally too, the housing market appears to be booming. According to The Guardian More than 100,000 additional house sales are expected during the first three months of 2021, as the rebound in the property market continues and buyers rush to complete their purchases before the end of thestamp duty ‘holiday’ in March 2021. Indeed, many mortgages advisors are suggesting that home buyers should put in their offers very soon as conveyancing and searches are taking much longer than usual – and completion is taking up to three months or more, meaning that many home buyers might miss the deadline.

buying a new home in 2020 or 2021 

The property website Zoopla reports that there have been 38% more new sales than this time last year and suggests that the housing market will be busier before Christmas than it has been in a decade.

So, despite the very slow start to the year the market has  rebounded because of ‘pent-up’ demand following the first lockdown. The introduction of the stamp duty holiday by Rishi Sunak, in July (on properties up to £500,000 until March 2021) has had a massive impact. Property sales have increased most in London and southern England, where 7% more sales have been recorded than in the previous year. This has also pushed up house prices too – by almost 3.5%, a figure that is set to grow by the end of the year.

when does the stamp duty holiday end?>

The housing market has had a “remarkable turnaround” since the spring, said Richard Donnell, director of research and insight at Zoopla. “It has been a rollercoaster year for the housing market which is ending on a strong note with demand and sales agreed still more than 30% higher than this time last year,”

More than 105,000 residential transactions took place last month (October), an increase of nearly 10% compared with September, and 8.1% higher than October 2019, according to figures fromHMRC <link>.

Times may be uncertain but the property market remains strong and it’s a good time to be an estate agent!


The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.


If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area please get in touch.

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