The fastest and slowest markets of 2021

The outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 has seen more people than ever head for the coast and country.

Published under Migration and Research — Apr 2022
The fastest and slowest markets of 2021
Coastal towns have always been some of the most sought after places to live. But the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 has seen more people than ever head for the coast and country where turnover rates have risen as sellers cash in.

This represents a shift in migration patterns. Traditionally people have nearly always moved into and around cities more often than they leave the suburbia or the country where they tend to put down deeper roots.

Before the pandemic, the rate of turnover in cities was more than four times that of the country, but since Covid began, this gap has closed. In 2019 the average urban turnover rate was 4.9% with towns, suburbs and country areas trailing at 3.8% and 1.2% respectively.

Turnover figures indicate how quickly a location is changing its residents. For example, if a location has a 10% annual turnover, and it maintained that rate, it could see every home change hands within 10 years.

By 2021, a year into the pandemic, housing turnover in towns and suburbs rose by 0.6% to 4.4% whereas in cities it had crept up by just 0.1% to 5.0%.

People’s priorities over the past two years have changed and this is reflected in their housing needs where more space and a slower pace of life have notched up buyers’ wish lists – so too have the popularity of second homes. As a result, the more sought-after small towns and coastal hotspots have all seen big increases in activity, which has pushed up turnover rates in these areas.

This is reflected in the top 15 districts with the highest turnover. On average it would take only eight years for every home in these areas to change hands. Salcombe and Dartmouth sit at the top of the list. Both are within the South Hams in Devon, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). These are areas that have always been in demand but have become more popular in recent years.

Pre-Covid in 2019, properties in Salcombe and Dartmouth turned over at a rate of 11.2% and 6.8% respectively, both significantly higher than the national average. However, between August 2020 and July-2021 these areas topped the board with turnover figures of 15.1% and 12.6%. – at least 4% growth for each.

City hotspots like Canary Wharf and Mayfair have consistently appeared in the top 15 places with the highest turnover - as might be expected. But what is perhaps more surprising is the number of city districts, such as Ilford and Wembley appearing in the bottom 15 – where turnover is the lowest. All but one, are districts within cities. In the bottom 15 areas, we see owners hold on to their properties for up to 50 years on average.

While this is partly down to the pandemic, with less activity taking place in city markets generally, they are also landlord dominated markets. Here turnover has been suppressed by landlords holding onto homes, typically selling them less often than owner-occupiers and first-time buyers in particular.


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Isaac Odegbami


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