ELIZABETH Davis, local director of Webbers estate agents, reflects on 2021 and gives a positive view of 2022.

"The past 12 months have been a heady mixture of highs and lows, with so many of us touched in one way or another by the Covid pandemic now moving into a third year – who would have thought that, back in early 2020.

"The pandemic has also of course brought forward change in the way properties are sold, with virtual video viewings now a standard feature of the selling process, making life easier for buyers and sellers, as well as helping halt the spread of the virus.

"I have been extremely proud in the way that property professionals have dealt with these challenging conditions, managing and adapting to keep the market moving (and has it moved!) whilst still keeping all involved safe.

"As we at Webbers review the past 12 months, it is clear that the South West has lost none of its appeal to buyers moving from out of the area, but it is right to add here that across all sectors we have seen an increase in local buyers moving.

"Many have taken 'once in a lifetime' decisions to make a change in seeking an even better way of living – more space, bigger gardens, closer to the open countryside or sea and yes space to work from home, which many are still doing.

"The result of the above together with very low interest rates and short supply have seen another strong year in terms of price growth.

"On average UK house prices have soared by almost £24,000, with the average house price now at circa £255,000 according to the Nationwide – that’s the strongest annual growth in 15 years.

"So the market ended on a high, with annual transaction levels considerably up on pre-Covid levels.

"Many home-sellers and buyers will no doubt be asking, 'How will the property market react in 2022?'

"Although the Bank has raised interest rates ever-so slightly, they are still remarkably low and buyers can still source cheap two- and five-year fixed rate deals and importantly our 14 offices still report that buyer and seller sentiment is still very positive.

"Clearly there have been concerns surrounding the Omicron variant spreading so rapidly. However, the early reports appear to show that this variant has more mild symptoms – but we remain vigilant of course. We will all keep an eye on inflation, but with continued short supply of fresh stock there is every expectation that house prices will continue to steadily rise in 2022 to a more modest level of between three and five per cent.

"At Webbers all of our customer facing staff have sat and passed the Guild of Property Professionals exam in residential estate agency and each office has a NAEA/Propertymark Local Director.

"As part of The Guild network, Webbers are also the only local estate agency that form part of the 'Best UK estate agency network' as awarded in the recent ESTAS awards and Webbers were also voted 'Best Estate Agency in the South West' in the end of year Relocation Agent Network awards. You can therefore be certain of a professional and warm service from all Webbers offices, giving you trust and confidence in our estate agency service.

"Our teams in the Taunton, Wellington and Wiveliscombe offices will be pleased to help you with your 2022 property needs."