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How Covid-19 impacted the local housing market in Q4 2020

With an almost complete cessation of activity from late March until mid-summer, our member firms were forced to adapt their approach to business and overcome an array of challenges, yet we ended the year with an unexpected increase in property prices.

How Covid-19 impacted the local housing market in Q4 2020

Each quarter, the report which is released by the Centre for Real Estate Research at the University of Aberdeen Business School, uses the data collected by ASPC to monitor the North East’s property market and provide updates.

The index is based on the quality-controlled prices of a semi-detached house with standard characteristics. According to this index:

  • The quarterly house price change in Aberdeen has been 3.3%
  • The annual house price change in Aberdeen has been 4.9%.
  • The annualised house price change over five years in Aberdeen has been -3.7%.

The fourth quarter of the year has produced a surprise for all involved. Normally, even in years when our local housing market had been active, the last quarter would disclose a lessening in activity as the year drew to a close, however in 2020 we have seen the unexpected result of positive movements across 2 out of 3 categories.

Compared to the same period in 2019 sales increased by 32.8%, however, given the severity of the lockdown during Q1 and Q2, it could be argued that the market was playing catch up.

Flats saw an increase in sales of 23.3% compared to Q4 2019, and semi-detached houses saw an increase of 25.7% but interestingly detached houses were the most affected, with an increase of 53.6% compared to Q4 2019.

Both the rise in sales and price change has been a rather welcome surprise. However, let me hasten to dampen any speculation that this may herald a return to rising prices - I think that the figures may be reflecting a particular set of circumstances rather than a trend.

The latest figures show that prices did feel the effect of the increased activity, with the fourth quarter showing increases for quarterly and annual indices.

One thing that was noticeable in late 2020 was that properties coming to market that sold well, were presented well. ‘Staging’ a property is now more important than ever in our very competitive market and sellers should take the time and make the effort to plan their marketing, taking time to assess weak points, and, where possible, address them. In the last quarter of 2020, those properties that were well presented sold close to, or at, valuation.

The full Quarter 4 report for 2020 can be read here: Aberdeen Housing Market Report for the fourth Quarter 2020


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