Before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the housing market in Oundle had been predictable – that of a quiet, scenic market town within commuting distance of London and Peterborough. But since the world was turned upside down in March 2020, the demand for countryside housing, and especially houses with more space, has skyrocketed.
This is a trend that estate agents have seen around the country, with a year-long high number of sales. Nationwide Building Society calculates that prices are up 11% from last year, and 13% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Analysts have said that this spike in sales is due to the 15-month cut in stamp duty on the first £500,000 of a property purchase. Secondly, with more people working online, commuting fell significantly. People realised that working from home was an easier and nicer experience, prompting more people to move further away from their work in search of more space.
There has been a significant impact on the property market in Oundle. Last year the majority of houses sold in Oundle were detached, going for an average of £447,953. Prices in the region increased by 13.7% in the last 18 months. Houses were spending just days on the market during the period when stamp duty was reduced, and some of the more expensive houses sold before they were advertised.
Estate agent Chris Woodford said: “2021 has been exceptional, and we have sold twenty-two percent more properties than in an average year. We predict quite a strong year for 2022.”
The boom in house sales had a knock-on effect on the rental market.
Alexandra Palmer-Worth of Just Lets in Oundle said: “We have seen an increase of tenants who had sold their homes to capitalise on the boom in prices and stamp duty holidays, then not being able to find a property to purchase for their next step. They have instead come into the rented sector for a ‘stop gap’ home.”
The rental market in Oundle remained buoyant during the pandemic, reflecting people’s need to relocate remained the same despite lockdowns. As with the housing market, demand vastly outweighed supply, and rents increased due to this.
This meant that in 2020 houses could have been let thirty percent quicker than previously, according to Zoopla. This would have had a disproportionate effect on those who are lower income, younger or self-employed, as they tend to be renters more than homeowners.
Alexandra Palmer-Worth said: “What these last two years have taught us is that it’s impossible to predict the future. We are confident that Oundle will continue to have a strong rental market. Despite the rising house prices and the government’s efforts to make buy-to-lets unattractive, our landlords are still increasing their portfolios, in addition to us seeing an increase in new landlords to the market.”