How the Rural Property and Lettings Market has Fared in 2020 - H&H Land & Estates sees encouraging sales in the second half of the year and is optimistic moving into 2021

Colin Tomlinson

With 2020 now coming to an end, H&H Land & Estates reflects on what has been a year like no other in the rural, residential and lettings property market. As one of the leading firms of independent rural property advisors across the North of England, the company highlights key factors which have helped the year go better than anticipated, despite the challenges offered up by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Firstly, reflecting on the past year in terms of sales, Colin Tomlinson, Managing Director for H&H Land & Estates, highlighted:  

Though it goes without saying that 2020 has proved a turbulent time for the majority of us, I am thankful to report that overall we have still managed to have a good year at H&H Land & Estates. With the Stamp Duty holiday giving a positive injection into the property market,  we saw sales pick up considerably after the first lockdown and business has been particularly strong in the second half of the year. This is not just as a result of property transactions though - it is also a real testament to our team’s adaptability, knowledge and hard work.  

Although our doors were physically closed through that initial lockdown, we continued to operate and developed strategies to ensure that we were able to continue progressing sales. Along with the many sales, there has been plenty of property coming to market and prices being achieved are on a par with last year.” 

In the second half of the year, we have seen a real surge in demand for rural property and  the peace and privacy offered by countryside residencies. Lockdown was an incredibly difficult time for so many, and forced a huge number of people to revaluate their lifestyle choices. Out of city properties which offered space and seclusion suddenly seemed more attractive than ever, which was certainly reflected in demand for properties in rural locations. Additionally, this year we have seen work patterns change beyond recognition. Houses offering studies or the potential for home office space are proving increasingly attractive to buyers, and with working from home now the new norm for so many people, we expect this trend is here to stay. 

Factors which are significantly influencing the current market are the very low interest rates and availability of good mortgage deals, combined of course with the temporary stamp duty holiday introduced in July. There has been a continuing enthusiasm to take advantage of this opportunity, and rightly so, as the rate of stamp duty was cut to zero per cent for every property under £500,000. Though it would be fantastic if the Government decided to continue this, I have my reservations. So realistically, until this comes to a close around the end of March, no one is going to have a clear feel for what the property market will be like going forward, and what the resulting implications may be.  

At H&H Land & Estates, we have always had a significant database of people looking for property. Thankfully, this does not seem to have been affected by the fact that we have not had our offices open for walk-ins this year.  In fact, we are often receiving enquires about new properties within minutes of them going live on our website, which reflects the current state of demand in our highly sought-after rural areas. One property recently had four viewings within the first two hours of its virtual launch, and within two days the sale was agreed!

Considering some of the key factors which have allowed the company to navigate new challenges encountered this year, Colin continued: 

Working practices have changed considerably and one area in particular which has really allowed us to excel has been digital technology. The team has really taken these powerful new digital tools in their stride this year, and this digitalisation has helped streamline our processes, from agreeing sales to completion. Buyers now are very accepting of virtual viewings for instance – a game-changing way of offering and promoting new properties. 

With sales buoyant, it is unfortunate that we are currently experiencing delays with local authority searches, which is holding up the sales progression. Usually we work on a three-month timeline from agreed sales to completion, however our teams are now advising that realistically it will be at least four months.   

Reporting on the lettings side of the business, Sarah Gemmell, Lettings Manager for the North Lakes, said:  

This has been the busiest year our property lettings department has ever seen and certainly when COVID first hit, we did not anticipate this level of interest. The market is hugely buoyant, and there is a huge shortage of properties coming forward to rent. Currently we have three to four times the amount of people on our waiting lists than we have had in the past. Everything from flats to detached lifestyle houses are being snapped up almost as soon as they are launched. 

This year we have experienced a growth in rental values of in the region of 5% for all types of property. Some of this growth is down to shortages, however where we have seen the highest growth is for detached spacious family homes, with people prepared to pay the premium that comes with more space. 

Lockdown certainly gave people time to reassess and reflect on their work-life balance, which has resulted in people looking for more outdoor space and a chance to restructure their lifestyles. We’ve seen a whole range of people coming from semi-rural areas or from city centres all over the UK, either looking to relocate because of retirement, or to change their circumstances and shift to working from home. 

Looking ahead to the coming year, Colin concluded: 

2020 has been a year that no one would have been able to foresee. Although we have encountered new challenges, this past year has importantly shown us the power companies have to adapt and develop. Embracing change has demonstrated that we can run our property agencies by providing both virtual and in-person experiences, both which I believe are essential to future-proof our business and lay the foundations for the next generation. 

Lifestyle choices and working patterns are changing for buyers, and new digital tools are making the process easier in many respects for sellers. As such, as confidence begins to grow again, we will hopefully see more people returning to the property market in 2021.”  

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What Our Customers Say

  • We have been very impressed with H and H’s performance relating to the reletting of the Coach House at Great Salkeld. You have met all of the challenges that COVID has thrown at you superbly and still managed to deliver a professional and very efficient service whilst maintaining the personal touch – I would not hesitate in recommending you to anyone wishing to let a property in the area. Many thanks – we look forward to working with you and your team in the future

    J. H.

    30th July 2021

  • Lettings | I think the process has been handled in a very prompt, timely and professional way. Particularly as this isn’t an area of work I have handled very much. Your guiding hand has helped me enormously!

    Karen N

    9th July 2021

  • Lettings | The experience has been good – smooth and without any issues. Having the full range of services like the insurance broker was definitely one of the key reasons we chose you and it worked out very well. Thanks for all your help – you have made it work well and an easy process.

    Nigel W

    9th July 2021

  • Residential Sale | With the house sale completed, ( in record time!) I want to say thanks to you and all your team who did an outstanding job for us. Right from the word go you filled us with confidence that you knew the market and gave us a realistic appraisal of what the house was worth and how quickly it would sell. We felt in very safe hands from the outset. Please pass on our thanks to all of your colleagues who looked after us so well, the virtual viewing was a great idea and worked very well and it was such a relief to us that you were able to deal with all the viewings which made the sale much simpler and easier for us. Thanks and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending you to anyone we know who is looking for an estate agent.

    A. J.

    5th July 2021

  • Lettings | We have been very pleased with H&H's property management and letting service. Our property manager is professional, responsive and lovely to work with. Our house has been marketed very effectively to quality tenants, and we have been very impressed with the way that H&H's staff have gone out of their way to ensure that everyone is happy - the outgoing and incoming tenants, and us as property owners. We look forward to working with Sarah and the team for years to come.

    G & P

    5th July 2021

  • I’ve just called into your office to give praise to Sue (one of your house viewers) – what a lovely lady! She is an asset to your company.

    Lynne Smith

    30th June 2021

  • Lettings | We wish to thank you for guiding us through everything relating to our first rental in a professional and supportive manner. You exceeded all our expectations regarding our let and we would have no hesitation in recommending you to friends and family who are considering taking the plunge into rental. Many thanks for everything .

    Elsie and Emma

    16th June 2021

  • Thank you for your confirmatory email, and to all at the office for being helpful, especially Tessa who had a flood of emails from me! I am sure so much work for one property let must be frustrating when you are busy but everyone I have spoken to has always been patient, friendly and very helpful!

    Jane Corbett

    16th April 2021

  • Purchase | The service Sharon provided was excellent, always approachable and calming. We felt that the sale of the house was in good hands and you were always ready to explain things that we didn't understand. We would definitely recommend you to our friends and thank you for your excellent service. We are still in our caravan but we hope to be moving to our new place very soon.

    Catherine and Barry

    9th April 2021

  • Sales | Following the successful completion of the sale of my father’s house in Cartmel, I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Michaela and all the team at the Grange branch for their exceptional help during what has been a very difficult time. Right from our first meeting I had complete confidence in the team. Following my father’s death and the start of lockdown, coupled with my own health scare selling a house remotely could have been a nightmare; but difficult though it was I always knew that the team were there and would when needed go well beyond what is usually expected. I felt lucky to have them and fully appreciate the quality of service being provided despite difficult circumstances. If asked I would always recommend H&H.

    Kate G

    5th April 2021

  • Sales | I’ve just completed two building plot sales with yourselves in Grange. It’s been a long haul but got there in the end. I know people always want to complain but in this instance I want to do the opposite and can’t praise Michaela enough. She’s been great especially in these difficult times. She’s now on the look out for a renovation project for me! Thank you

    Marilyn Moore

    9th April 2021

  • Sales | “From the first visit to value the property through to completion of the sale the staff of H&H Land & Estates showed a clear understanding of our needs and worked efficiently and conscientiously to meet those needs. They were always available for viewings if required and provided prompt feedback on viewings. They built up good relationships with potential buyers which proved invaluable in finally completing our sale.”

    Mr Ashworth

    30th March 2021

  • Sales | H&H Land & Estates, Penrith have been excellent to deal with and we can't praise them highly enough! This is the second house in 5 years that we have sold locally and having had experience of other estate agents in Penrith H&H are by far the best in the area and are 'THE' Estate Agents to go to! We have found them to be very professional - they always get back to you by phone or email if you have a query. All the staff are lovely and extremely helpful. We have found that they go above and beyond when dealing with anything and working out of office hours has to be commended. Plus, they don't harass you just to get a sale and they do look after you! They also have a key position on the high street for advertising your property. We can't thank them enough!”

    Mr & Mrs Earley

    28th February 2021

  • Sale | I want to thank Helen Forbes for persistence and your attention to detail and diplomatic handling of the sale throughout. I never thought I would be heaping praise onto an Estate Agent but you truly deserve it With all best wishes Alison

    Alison Young

    18th January 2021

  • Land Agency Advice | I just wanted to put ‘pen to paper‘ to give you some feedback about Robert Jauneika (Durham office) who was recommended to me by Martyn Hunter of JW Woods. I contacted Robert for advice and to do some work for me relating to a parcel of land I was selling ( now sold subject to buyer getting planning permission). I would like to say that Robert has been extremely professional, prompt, efficient, knowledgeable, a great communicator, patient and pleasant throughout all our communications. In fact I have worked with many people both in my professional and private life and have yet to come across anyone as good as Robert.

    Carolyn Hough

    16th November 2020

  • We would just like to compliment you on your fantastic team in the Grange office. Last December with Jill's expertise we found just the right tenant for a small cottage we own. Jill was so professional and nice to deal with which is almost unquantifiable and we feel praise should be given where praise is due. We are about to successfully complete the sale of our second cottage with the help of Michaela in particular who directed our purchasers to us in the first couple of days it was advertised and has also been extraordinarily helpful and professional. We have nothing but praise for the team and your company and H & H will always be highly recommended by us.

    Rita and Colin Denby

    8th November 2020

  • Helen Forbes of the Durham office has been really solid during the sale of our home!

    Alison

    23rd October 2020

  • Lettings | Excellent service right from day one, with an amazing team who really will go above and beyond (working hours for certain) to help ensure that their customers (prospective or otherwise) get the very best in advice and support. A genuinely good and reliable business.

    John Barnes

    16th September 2020

  • Sales | I’m writing to say how grateful we are for all your help in the purchase of our new house in Keswick. We really enjoyed working with you and intend to put our current home on the market shortly with H&H, which will be entirely because of our dealings with you. We found your communication invaluable and felt informed at every stage of the house buying process. You demonstrated both integrity and honesty in all your dealings with us, and as a result we felt very confident in putting our trust in you. You gave a very positive, professional and friendly demonstration of how the job of an estate agent should be done. Thanks once again.

    K & P Mullarkey

    8th September 2020

  • Sales | Sally and the team at H&H Cockermouth made what seemed a very stressful first time purchase during COVID-19 much easier. She was on hand to answer all of our questions, however small or obvious in a clear and supportive way. Elements beyond anyone’s control meant that the process was not smooth for us but Sally was reassuring and very patient with us. Thank you Sally and the H&H Team :)

    Ryan Tingley

    28th August 2020

  • Andrew and team at H&H were amazing. I sold my house through H&H we were about to close and then corona hit. It was unprecedented. The other thing that was unprecedented was the support and guidance that Andrew and his team offered us. He was always available and actively invested in helping us to complete our sale. Andrew and his team were professional yet friendly. We had been with another local estate agent for a month previously and the difference was huge. Most importantly we felt like people and not just a client. Thank you Andrew and your team. When I come to sell again you are top of my list.

    Paul Whittam

    26th August 2020

  • Sales | I am writing following the successful completion of the sale of my father’s house in Cartmel. I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Michaela and all the Grange team for their exceptional help during a very difficult time. From our first meeting I had complete confidence in the team. Following my father’s death plus lockdown, selling a house remotely could have been a nightmare; but difficult though it was I always knew that the team were there and went well beyond what is usually expected. I felt lucky to have them; I hope, but am sure that you fully appreciate the quality of service being provided despite difficult circumstances. I would always recommend H&H Land & Estates.

    Kate Gee

    20th August 2020

  • Lettings | We have used H&H Land & Estates since 2005 to manage our rental property. Everyone we have dealt with has made us feel confident in their knowledge and ability, offering expert guidance where needed. Recently we had to deal with some challenging issues and Jenna Nixon was nothing short of superb. Always returning calls promptly, offering expert advice which was very reassuring. We would never rent out a property without the help of a managing agent and they don’t come better than H&H Land & Estates. I fully recommend them. When we sell the property, we will engage their sales department for these same reasons. Expert, friendly staff with a wealth of knowledge on the local area and markets.

    Judith Rowe

    20th August 2020

  • Sales | Having had my property on the market with yourselves, shortly due to complete, I would just like to compliment the staff who work in Lowther Street. From my first dealings with the valuer who appraised my property to telephone calls with the staff in the office, I have received nothing but excellent service and I would like to thank them all for that. My biggest thanks must go to Gillian, who has helped me from start to finish, going beyond expectations to help me. I cannot thank her enough for all she has done for me and felt I must let you know what a valuable member of staff you have; her enthusiasm and humour along with her professional service has made my experience of selling my property very pleasant and for that I am very grateful. Many Thanks

    Jean Hill

    19th August 2020

  • Farm Sale | We would like to show our appreciation for everything Shirley did in the preparation and presentation of the (now successful) sale of the farm and we are sending you a small gift by way of our personal thanks. Thank you and best wishes to you The Hill Family

    Hill Family

    18th August 2020

  • Development | Although we thought this day would come sometimes miracles do actually happen! Anyway to say I am relieved and pleased is an understatement - a situation which ruled our lives for so long can now officially be put to bed. Can I take this opportunity of sincerely thanking Richard - his support is much appreciated. Also, can I please thank David for his stalwart endeavours over such a long period of time as his patience was truly amazing. Once again my sincere thanks.

    Lynn Buddles

    18th August 2020

  • Sales | Thank you for being helpful with my sale of Little Burnholme and a BIG thank you for being you. Kindest Regards Margaret

    Margaret

    17th August 2020

  • Lettings | We recently rented a property through H&H Land & Estates. Jenna was amazing and very professional throughout. From the first viewing through to after we had moved in, Jenna and the team were on hand every step of the way. First class service.

    Clare Everglades

    17th August 2020

  • Land Management | H&H Land & Estates manage our land holding portfolio nationwide. We trust them with their judgement and appreciate their advice at all times.

    Bellway Homes Ltd

    16th August 2020

  • I have been with H&H for over twenty years and latterly working with Tracey Jackson. I am very satisfied with their work.

    Mr Sheffield

    6th July 2020

  • Over the past few months, I’ve been dealing with Jenna to sort out some issues with a tenant that left and to find a new tenant for my property. You’ve been the managing agent for my flat since 2005 and the service that Jenna has given me recently has been nothing short of superb. She has promptly answered questions, given me reassurance and generally been a godsend over a fairly stressful time. You have a tremendous asset in Jenna.

    J Rowe

    25th February 2020

  • Thomas, Shirley & Alan, we would like to show you our appreciation for everything you did in the preparation and sale of the (now successful) sale of the farm. Thank you.

    The Hill Family

    1st November 2019

  • Nothing but praise for the service offered by Andrew and Kathy at H&H King, Penrith. They really put themselves out, not only to ensure that we sold our house but also to find us a house that suited our requirements in the right area. We have no doubts that they are worthy of a 5* rating. N&T

    Neil McGeown

    1st October 2019

  • Friendly and professional service at all times. Great service. Tracey is fabulous.

    Saiorse Cosgrove

    10th September 2019

  • Excellent service from valuation through to completion. Very friendly staff and extremely professional. Thank you very much Andrew and Kathy in the Penrith office for your help. Can’t praise them enough.

    J Carver

    13th September 2019

  • Personal, professional and friendly, the team at H&H in Penrith truly give you five star treatment. They help you through all the issues which always arise when buying a property and give you peace of mind that everything is being dealt with. We would definitely recommend this great team and would use again in the future.

    Carol Edmondson

    15th September 2019

  • From my first dealings with the valuer who came out to look at my property and telephone dealings with the staff in the office, I have had nothing but excellent service and I would like to thank them all for that. My biggest thanks must go to Gillian, who has helped me all the way from start to finish, she has gone beyond my expectations and helped me in every way possible, her enthusiasm and humour along with her professional service has made my experience of selling my property a very pleasant experience and for that I am very grateful.

    J Hill

    21st August 2019

  • We found Andrew and Kathy to be extremely professional. They guided us through the whole process seamlessly. Cannot recommend H&H highly enough. Thank you.

    Rhona King

    28th February 2019

  • Thank you so much [Mike] for all your help with the Mid-Tier Application. I couldn't have possibly done it myself and it was such a relief to be able to hand it over to you.

    L. McArthur

    22nd August 2018

  • We are very pleased with the way you dealt with the Scroggs Wood programme. There seemed to be a number of difficulties, but you overcame all these problems and got the timber extracted in good time, and sold it well - we were delighted with the cheques we received. So we wish to thank you warmly for all your efforts, your expertise and your thoroughly professional approach.

    H. Summerson

    31st January 2020

  • I just wanted to put ‘pen to paper‘ to give you some feedback about Robert Jauneika (Durham office) who was recommended to me by Martyn Hunter of JW Woods. I contacted Robert for advice and to do some work for me relating to a parcel of land I was selling ( now sold subject to buyer getting planning permission). I would like to say that Robert has been extremely professional, prompt, efficient, knowledgeable, a great communicator, patient and pleasant throughout all our communications. In fact I have worked with many people both in my professional and private life and have yet to come across anyone as good as Robert.

    Carolyn Hough

    16th November 2020

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    15th December 2020