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UK Property Market Trends (2018-2021)

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UK Property Market Trends (2018-2021)
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We look through our latest house sale enquiry data, revealing property sale trends over the pandemic and last four years

Over the past few years, the UK’s property market has embarked on a real rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Despite the pandemic’s effect on the country’s economy and employment rate, the stamp duty holiday and rise of remote working have given Brits a better chance at selling their homes. Our latest study identifies property sale trends across the country over the last 4 years, including sales enquiry increases, dips and most importantly the most common reasons why people are selling!

In The Last Year…

After being stuck indoors for the majority of the last year and a half, many of us have reconsidered what ‘home’ is (and what we’d like it to be). If you considered putting your house up for sale and starting afresh somewhere new, then you’re in good company, especially if you’re a resident in any of these locations…


The counties that saw the biggest uptake in enquiries were East Renfrewshire, Scotland and Mid and East Antrim, Northern Ireland. Both of these counties saw a whopping 500% increase, with Monmouthsire seeing the third biggest increase in house sale enquiries with 111%. On the opposite end, Clackmannanshire, Newry, Mourne & Down and Angus all saw the biggest decrease in homeowners looking to sell. Scotland and Northern Ireland host both the UK’s most content and discontent homeowners! 

Over The Last 3-4 Years…  

When we take the last few years into context, the results are radically different, proving just how large an effect the pandemic has had on the UK’s property market.

Since 2018, East Lothian is the UK county which has seen the biggest increase in sales enquiries. Enquiries have more than doubled in the area, with 225% more residents making sales enquiries over the last 3 and a half years. The city of Edinburgh saw the second biggest increase, with a 115% increase of homeowners considering a quick sell. Herefordshire takes third position with enquiries up by 83%.

On the flip side, sales enquiries in certain areas of the UK have seen a marked decrease in the last four years — especially in Northern Ireland. Home-owners in Newry, Mourne and Down in Northern Ireland seem the most settled, as enquiries here have dwindled by 89%. Similarly, those in Causeway Coast and Glens in Scotland have no plans on moving, as enquiries have dropped by 85%. Lisburn and Castlereagh saw a 75% decrease too. Overall, 8 of the top 10 regions with the biggest decreases are in Northern Ireland. 

Which UK Nation is the most nomadic?

But which UK nation hosts the most — and the least — settled homeowners? And how has this changed over the last year? 

Looking at the trends since 2020, English homeowners have enquired about selling 14% more often, the largest change of any nation. Wales is second with an increase of 5%, whereas Scotland has seen an overall decrease of 8% and Northern Ireland a decrease of 13%.

However, since 2018 Scotland has seen a 9% increase in sales enquiries, ahead of England with 4%. Whereas Wales has seen a 4% decrease and Northern Ireland a whopping 67% decline in house sale enquiries. 

Lacklustre London 

The rise of home working and redundancies seems to have encouraged many Londoners to relocate. This is reflected in London’s most recent house sale enquiries, with 32 of the 33 boroughs seeing an increase in homeowners looking to sell. The largest increases in enquiries were in Hackney (225%), Lambeth (174%) and Islington (172%). 

With London offering homeowners higher appreciation rates on property, the trend of those wishing to sell their homes in the capital has only increased over the last few years,  increasing by 68% since 2018. However, the last year has definitely exacerbated things, with house sale enquiries in London increasing by 81%, comparing the period of January to May (2020 vs 2021) alone. The main reason London homeowners were looking to sell up was to upsize — a desire only magnified by the pandemic. 


Main Reasons for Sale 

We know the numbers of people looking to sell, but what about the reasons why? The top reason Brits are considering selling their homes is actually positive: 18% made enquiries because they wanted to upsize.

The next most common reason driving homeowners to consider selling is selling a second home — suggesting Brits have had to focus on cutting back on unnecessary costs. The third most popular factor was retirement, accounting for 9% of enquiries.

However, reasons for sale also differed per country. Although upsizing remained the top reason for England, in Scotland and Wales it was the sale of second homes, whereas in Northern Ireland a third of enquiries cited downsizing as the driving factor.

A love lost or a dream come true?

Breaking up with someone is never easy, and having to move on from a shared home makes it even harder. Some regions were less lucky in love than others, Northern Ireland attributed 22% of enquiries to relationship break-ups, more than double the East of England which had the second highest proportion. Londoners cited divorce and relationship break up the least of all the UK regions, with less than 4% of enquiries prompted by separation.

But not all reasons for enquiries were doom and gloom. For some lucky homeowners, they enquired after a quick sale when their ‘dream home’ became available. The regions with the highest number of these types of enquiries were Greater London, West Yorkshire and Essex. 


Nothing has exemplified the importance of home more than the pandemic and as remote working becomes increasingly popular, Brits will have more freedom to choose where to settle down.  However, it looks like some housing trends — like moving out of London with a desire to upsize — are not fads which have come from nowhere, but reflect priorities homeowners have held for years: the pandemic has just been a catalyst.

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