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Will the housing market go from boom to bust in 2022?
Whilst many estate agents have had a boom year, and property prices have increased nationally by an average price of £31,000, there are now signs that the party may soon be over.
The Office for National Statistics reports that from the end of September, when the stamp duty holiday came to an end, house prices actually went retrograde, with the average price of a home dropping to £268,000 from £271,000. This downward move comes after sixteen months of a consecutive uptick in the index.
Rightmove has commented recently on how strong the market has been…with ‘been’ being the operative word.
Tim Bannister, Director of Data Services, said: “This year, sellers in Great Britain have had a better chance of finding a buyer for their home than at any time over the past decade. A staggering statistic is that seven in ten properties for sale have been marked sold subject to contract this year, compared to two out of ten in 2012, highlighting both the speed and efficiency of the housing market.”
This supercharged market looks like it may be out of steam, because at present estate agents have the lowest stock of property on their books for twelve years. Some say this is great news, a seller’s market that, in the new year, will mean house prices will once again rise. My thoughts are that if in January no agents have stock to sell, it will be a very poor market for all stakeholders.
The history of the market tells us that in times of crisis people in the housing market do nothing and hunker down. The lack of new listings in my mind is a clear sign of this mentality.
The true patterns that are creating the housing market of 2022 are forming around interest rates; will the Bank of England increase the lending rate? If not today, it has signalled that it will be by the end of Q1 2022.
Inflation is also a looming factor, currently sitting at 5.1% it is putting pressure on everyone. And with household utility bills now doubling in some cases, the uncertainty around affordability is coming back into view.
The biggest cloud on the horizon is of course the Omicron variant. Though we have Plan B and a work from home contingency for those who can and want to, most people feel that lockdown lite is only a few weeks away, and we all know the economic and social upheaval that will cause.
Despite all of this, estate agents are always upbeat. We have to be.
Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Buying a home is a long-term commitment, and the desire to own a home is one nested deep in the nation’s psyche … we would expect that the traditional new year spike in activity combined with a possible interest rate rise will bring a little more confidence for potential movers. We would anticipate a tempering of what has been a fervent market with new listings coming to the fore as the year progresses.”
With January 2022 only a fortnight away, the true picture of the market will soon be upon us, and if the base rate is adjusted upwards by the wise council within the Bank of England today, this might be the starting pistol for a very different market in 2022.
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Over £1.6 billion invested in UK proptech companies in 2021
Second only to New York, London is the global centre of the proptech space, and now it has been reported in The Times that in 2021 alone over £1.6 billion of capital was put into property technology companies in the United Kingdom. 68% of that in and around London.
This comes as no surprise to me, as I have seen in the last five years a huge amount of cash being pumped into the whole proptech start-up, scale-up and exit markets. To give some idea of how huge the digital transformation of real estate is, in 2017 when I first became an analyst and consultant in this sector, investment was around about £120 million in the UK.
We now have seen a lot of VC concerns set up accelerator programs to superpower maturing SMEs, all solving different problems in the plan, build, sale, lease and asset management verticals.
Including ESG and sustainability within contech, grappling with the remediation issues caused by the cladding problems, the list of issues that real estate faces is infinite, and a whole new generation of bright minds are using code to deliver commercial answers.
Recently we saw the very first SPAC, or blank cheque company, being formed in the UK. Its purpose is to acquire and provide the working capital to scale up property technology companies. This is a clear sign that what is happening Stateside, and across the world, is now happening here.
Proptech of course touches many sectors. It is not just the commercial real estate sector or the residential housing market, which itself is only a £6.5 billion annual industry – it covers every vertical that touches the property asset in some way.
At present in the UK and around the world the real estate sector is pouring investment into: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Internet of Things (IOT), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Shared Economy.
In addition, as a bit of a side bet, capital is being spread around on anything else that is scalable and might be the next big thing. And if we look just at the residential and commercial sector, proptech investment is pouring into the following list.
3D Modelling, 3D Printing, Accelerators, Agent Matching, Agent Services, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Asset Management, Auction, Augmented Reality, Augmented Valuation, Big Data, BIM, Biometric Security, Bitcoin, Broker Free Listing Search, Cad technology, Chatbot, Coliving, Commercial Real Estate, Compliance, Construction, Construction Management, Contech, Conveyancing, Co-Working, CRM, Crowdfunding, Cryptocurrency, Customer Experience (UX), Cyber Maturity, Data Protection, Data Valuation, Design, Development, Digital Twin, Drones, ESG, Facility Management, Fintech, Funding, Geolocation, Geospatial, Home Services, Indoor Mapping, Infrastructure & Sensors, Investment & Finance, Investment Management, Investment Platforms, IoT, Lead Generation, Legal Tech, Leasing Management Software, Lending – Mortgages, Lending Peer to Peer. Lending Tech, Lettings, Listing & Search Services, Location Based Services, Logistics, Long Term Rentals/Sale Search, Management & Maintenance, Marketing, Marketplaces, Money Transfer/Remittance, Mortgage Tech, Modular, Online Agent Brokerage, Online Agent Lettings, Online Agent Sales, Online Agents, Open Banking, Payment Operations, Payments/Billing Tech, Platforms, Portals, Portfolio Management, Property & Infrastructure, Property Management Solutions, Property Marketing platform, Property/Building Management, Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Marketing Solutions, Real Estate Tools, SaaS, Sales & Marketing, Shared Economy. Shared Services, Short Term Rentals, Smart Building, Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, Smart Cities & Mobility, Smart City Sustainability, Smart Homes, Smart Real Estate, Smart Services, Software Providers, Space as a Service, Start-ups, The Shared Economy, Valuation Tools, Venture Capital, Virtual Reality and Virtual Viewing.
By 2030, most of the analogue practices in real estate will have undergone a digital transformation that will power the way we relate to property, utilise it and transact and build it, and most importantly how we do all of this within a framework of looking after the planet too. Software really can leverage good outcomes for all stakeholders, and that means people and the environment they live in.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.