2015 has been a typically busy year in the world of property and housing. Here at Sarah Beeny's Tepilo we've taken a closer look at some of key moments, from house sales by social media to the inexorable rise of property website Rightmove.
Who saw the Conservatives gaining a majority? Certainly not the polls, that's for certain. They called it spectacularly wrong. The victory saw the threat of a mansion tax and rent controls evaporate into thin air, to the relief of many with an interest in housing and property.
However, the government has since been criticised for failing to tackle the lack of supply in the housing market. It has promised plenty – affordable homes, starter homes, more Help to Buy, an extension of Right to Buy – and we'll start to see in the coming months whether these promises will be delivered.
For many, getting on the property ladder is still a pipe dream. So the government will really need to drive forward its housebuilding programme over the next few years, making sure the supply/demand imbalance is dealt with and first-time buyers find it easier to actually buy a home.
Sale by social media
A one-off more than a long-term trend, yes, but quite a story nonetheless. A man from Lancashire, fed up with his estate agent's inability to find a buyer, decided to try and sell his home via Facebook, offering a cash incentive for those who shared his 'informal' status with friends.
Within 48 hours it had been shared more than 79,000 times, showing the incredible reach social media can achieve (if nothing else).
Still no word on whether the man achieved a sale or not, but you've got to admire his bravado and assertiveness.
The rise and rise of house prices
This year has been another excellent year for sellers, with asking prices rising across the country. And, as we pointed out in a recent blog, that trend looks set to continue in 2016, with industry experts predicting rises of anywhere between 3.5% and 6.9%.
As we frequently say, most people now head online when it comes to browsing for properties to buy. And the property portals, where exposure is unparalleled, continue to grow year by year. None more so than the biggest of the lot, Rightmove, which received 110 million visits each month in 2015.
It wasn't just properties in London and the South East that were popular, either, Cambridge and Bristol were the most searched for areas outside the capital.
Major commuter hubs such as Reading and Milton Keynes also performed strongly, while the ripple effect – where people move out of expensive areas for more affordable locations elsewhere – was to the benefit of the East of England, which witnessed a massive surge in demand in the last 12 months.
According to the portal's data, no region in England and Wales saw asking prices drop in 2015 and there is no evidence to suggest the coming year will be any different.
Property browsing is the new charades
Speaking of Rightmove, it now seems to have become a Christmas tradition to have a browse for your dream home over the festive period.
Rather than gorging themselves on chocolate, TV or mince pies, people are turning to their online devices to search for properties. Page visits and enquiries made at this time of year, particularly on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, are quite unbelievable.
Prospective sellers are therefore well-advised to bring their home to market as soon as possible to take full advantage of this massive surge in buyer interest.
2016 looks set to be another eventful year for the property world, but we wouldn't have it any other way!