Understanding how lockdown has impacted the UK property market means appreciating what might be coming next.
After three national lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there's been a big impact on the property sector.
It has been a challenging 12 months for many people since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 23 March 2020 the first national lockdown. And for those in the property market, various measures and guidelines were brought in to deal with the public when buying or selling a home.
However, the first lockdown saw the property sector's shutdown, with moves and viewings only being allowed in exceptional circumstances. And in November, we saw the second national lockdown running for four weeks, and then in January of this year, the third lockdown was announced.
The property market has remained open.
Those restrictions are now starting to be lifted, and the property market has remained open during the second and third phases.
Among the changes we have seen over the past year is how we use our homes. Indeed, many homeowners and potential buyers have used the lockdown to reassess what they are looking for from their homes. Others have been working from home and found they do not have enough space or a garden to enjoy.
It's unlikely that everyone will return to their offices, so many of us will continue working from home.
Chance to reassess our work-life balance
It's also likely that we will see more flexible working and a chance to reassess our work-life balance so that people will work from home and the office. Estate agents have already seen growing demand for homes with an extra bedroom or office space.
There's also been a trend for fast broadband to enable remote working.
Lockdowns have also made people understand more about smart home technology and having an energy-efficient property.
Among those taking advantage of this interest are build-to-rent developers and savvy landlords. Tenants will now find areas that have been designated especially for working in, and these rented homes will have a high-speed Internet connection.
They will also have high energy efficiency ratings as developers look to improve occupants' lives.
There's no doubt that buyers and tenants are looking for greener suburbs and the trend for leaving cities, particularly the centres, is one to monitor.
Search for space
This search for space is also pushing up house prices and, according to Zoopla, their annual house price index has risen by 4.1% over the past year. This trend has also been underlined by the Office for National Statistics, who say that the average UK house price is now £252,000 - a record high.
Part of this rise is down to the stamp duty holiday with buyers looking to cash in with savings made when buying a new property.
But what about the future? According to Rightmove, the level of demand in the UK's housing market is soaring, with 2021 showing one of the strongest starts to a year yet. The property platform says that demand has risen by 34% since a year ago, while supplies of properties to buy remains low.
There's a lot to understand how lockdown has impacted the UK property market. Still, there's no doubt the changes that have occurred will also fundamentally alter how we use and buy property in future.
Jan Carter of KK Interiors is an interior designer in Manchester who has expertise in staging a property for a quick sale - and can help create show home interiors that impress.