House prices are forecast to keep on climbing next year in spite of Brexit, the Covid crisis and whether or not the Government extends the stamp duty holiday, a property portal has claimed.
Rightmove said asking prices rose almost 7 per cent this year and predicts a further 4 per cent increase in 2021.
It claims moving home will remain top of the agenda for many people, who have been spurred to rethink their accomodation needs in the wake of the pandemic, often searching for larger homes with outdoor space.
Climbing: Rightmove said prices will continue to soar next year, pencilling in a 4% rise
'Pandemic related uncertainties have been around for nearly a year, and Brexit uncertainties for far longer, and record activity month after month has proved that movers are willing and able to act on their new or existing housing priorities,' Rightmove said.
It added that while the stamp duty holiday introduced in July has 'undoubtedly' added some extra momentum to the property market, demand was already strong before that - and remains 'resilient' even now that chances of beating the stamp duty deadline in March are shrinking.
That's despite estate agents recently warning that the withdrawal of the stamp duty holiday and the end of the Government's furlough scheme at the end of March next year look set to put the brakes on the 'mini-boom' the property market has enjoyed this year.
Average asking prices rose by 6.6 per cent in the year to December to £319,945, although they declined slightly over the past month, Rightmove said.
The stamp duty holiday, which is set to end on 1 April next year, was introduced on 8 July by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to prop up the market during the pandemic.
The potential stamp duty holiday saving on the average home is £2,650, while the maximum saving on a property costing £500,000 or more is £15,000.
Rightmove house price index: Average asking prices rose by 6.6% in the year to December to £319,945, although they declined slightly over the past month
Rigthmove expects a busy start of the year as the deadline approaches, as a logjam of some 650,000 properties are still currently changing hands.
And while demand is likely to slow down in the second quarter of 2021, the end of the stamp duty holiday won't be 'make or break' for potential buyers and cheap mortgages will continue to support prices.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: '2021 has a lot of variables, and so is not an easy one to call, but [...] we are confident that the housing market will continue to outperform general expectations next year as it did this.'
He added that this was reflected in their 'more conservative' forecast of a 4 per cent rise, compared to the this year's 6.6 per cent increase.
'There’s likely to be a lull in quarter two unless the stamp duty holiday is extended, but for many buyers its removal will not be make or break'.
Top-of-the-ladder homes have seen the biggest rise in average asking prices this year
Marc von Grundherr, director of estate agents Benham and Reeves, said: 'While the end of this initiative will lead to an understandable drop in demand over the months that follow, it will be more a return to pre pandemic normality rather than a dramatic market crash.'
Nick Leeming , chairman of estate agents Jackson Stops, said the reintroduction of stamp duty in April will slow transactions at the lower end of the market, but 'the top end will remain resilient'.
Top-of-the-ladder homes have seen the biggest rise in average asking prices this year, rising 7.6 per cent.
Prices for second-steppers' homes have risen by a smaller 7 per cent, while first-buyers' homes have seen an increase of 5.8 per cent.
Rightmove's index is based on the asking prices of nearly 90,000 properties advertised for sale on its site in December.