Cornwall house prices have soared during the pandemic
The average increase in the county is more than 50 per cent higher than the national upturn and nearly five times that of parts of the UK.
In March 2020, the average house price in the county was £236,553, rising by a staggering 15.5 per cent by a year later - or £36,600 - to £273,153.
Across the UK, average house prices increased by 10.2 per cent over the year to March 2021, up from 9.2 per cent in February 2021, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This is the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since August 2007.
Average house prices rose in England to £275,000 (10.2 per cent), in Wales to £185,000 (11.0 per cent), in Scotland to £167,000 (10.6 per cent) and in Northern Ireland to £149,000 (6.0 per cent).
However, London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth (3.7 per cent) for the fourth consecutive month.
Early 2020 saw the housing market grind to a halt - as the first lockdown starting in late March closed estate agents and banned viewings.
Once things reopened, the UK’s average house price growth accelerated rapidly. The ONS said the pandemic may have caused house buyers to reassess their housing preferences.
The average price of detached properties increased by 11.7 per cent in the year to March 2021, in comparison flats and maisonettes rose by 5.0 per cent over the same period.
The increase may be more acute in Cornwall due to the pandemic resulting in more people being able to work from home as well as an influx of those fleeing cities and more populated areas for the county's relatively low infection rates.
Across the county some of the craziest individual stories have seen houses selling in just five minutes, letting agents receiving hundreds of calls per property and first-time buyers almost entirely unable to secure a home. Read more about the Cornish bungalow that sold in five minutes here.
It’s reached the point where a couple managing to buy their first home was newsworthy after their seller refused “massive” offers from wealthy upcountry buyers in favour of the locals. Read that full story here.
It’s not just these bidding wars making things expensive and exclusive, though. A previous report also found that Cornwall’s median house price is now more than eight times the average salary in the county. Read more about that here.
One reason for the hikes nationally as well as in Cornwall has been changes in the tax paid on housing transactions - the stamp duty - may have allowed sellers to request higher prices as the buyers’ overall costs are reduced.
On July 8, 2020, the Chancellor announced a suspension of the tax paid on property purchases with immediate effect in England and Northern Ireland, with similar policies announced in Scotland and Wales later in the month.
In England and Northern Ireland, properties up to the value of £500,000 would incur no tax, while the thresholds for Scotland and Wales were £250,000.
The tax holiday for Scotland ended on March 31, 2021, while it was extended until June 30, 2021, in Wales. In England and Northern Ireland, the size of the tax-free threshold will decrease to £250,000 on July 30, until September 30.