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What caused people to move home during the pandemic?

The increased demand for moving boxes during the COVID19 pandemic 2021

When the COVID19 pandemic first hit during the middle of 2020, it came as a huge shock to everybody. It spread across the globe faster than anyone predicted, and it affected every household in the UK. National lockdowns, testing, closed shops, closed pubs, working from home and furlough were all things that most households experienced.

During this period, there was a huge increase in the number of people moving house, and a huge increase in demand for house moving boxes. This was an unexpected result of the pandemic. So firstly we will look at what caused the increase in people moving home.

What caused people to move home during the pandemic?

 ➡️  The government introduced a ‘stamp duty holiday’ which has lasted for more than a year. This is the taxation that the government imposes on all property purchases. The ‘stamp duty holiday’ meant that anybody buying a house below the value of £500,000 didn’t have to pay stamp duty. This was an attempt by the government to encourage people to move home and keep the economy moving.

➡️  This stamp duty holiday has undesired effects however. The reason for this is because many people started working from home, as offices were forced to shut, and with an increase in people working from home meant that they suddenly wanted more space in their home for offices, so they decided to move house to a larger property with extra space. This lead to a huge increase in people moving.

➡️  Along with this, while people knew they would be working from home, it enabled them to move out of expensive cities such as London and move into the countryside, where they could afford much more room and a better standard of living. So the flexible working locations also lead to an increase in people moving home. ➡️  With more people spending more time at home, it meant that more people wanted to move to a better property in general, even if staying in a similar location. So more people in general wanted to move and those that stayed in their homes wanted to make improvements to their homes. There was a huge increase in expenditure on household building supplies too. ➡️  All of this combined with the stamp duty savings meant that there were far more house movers, and it also lead to more houses becoming available for sale too, as there were people who have been thinking about moving for a long time, and they knew that the housing market was moving so quickly that they would be able to sell their homes easily and for a good price. ➡️  As Britain left the European Union in the same year due to Brexit, this also led to people moving home more frequently. Many people left the UK entirely to find a new home in Europe, while some Europeans chose to move permanently to the UK. Many businesses left the UK too, so there was plenty of moving for that reason.

House prices

➡️  House prices were predicted to drop during 2020/21, however the opposite effect actually happened. House prices rose by nearly 10%, which was the fastest level of growth for over a decade. ➡️  Houses were selling for above the asking price, as so many people were fighting for each house sale, there became a bidding war. This is especially the case in the countryside where city dwellers began moving into the country. ➡️  The rise in house prices has made it very difficult for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder, and they now need a much larger deposit to buy a home. ➡️  Although house prices rose, the banks were less likely to offer a mortgage unless you had a larger deposit in the first place. The reason for this was because of the uncertainty that arose with work and business, so the banks didn’t consider jobs to be safe.

Effect on moving boxes

➡️  As more people moved home, the demand for moving boxes increased substantially as well. Most house movers use around 30-40 boxes per move, so this has inevitably meant there was a huge increase in demand for boxes. ➡️  Along with cardboard increased demand for house moving, there has been a huge increase in people shopping online. This means that more house moving boxes were purchased online rather than in store over 2020/21, and it also means that other normal products were sold online too, and they needed cardboard boxes to be sent in. So the demand for cardboard as a whole increased substantially. ➡️  This actually led to a shortage in cardboard, and many suppliers actually ran out. The price of cardboard increased by nearly 30% as suppliers could not keep up with demand and attempted to slow the demand. ➡️  Deliveries of storage boxes were much later than people wanted, and many people and businesses had to wait a month or more for their deliveries. ➡️  Along with this, Brexit also happened during the same year. This meant that deliveries coming from Europe were very slow, and the boarder actually came to a standstill at one point. As most of the cardboard sold in the UK comes from Europe, this also lead to a huge shortage of cardboard. ➡️  This also meant that cardboard boxes that were sold throughout Europe slowed because of the increased taxation and duty costs of selling to Europe now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU. ➡️  The cost of sending boxes to Northern Ireland also increased substantially, and it costs the same amount to send boxes to Northern Ireland as Europe, even though Northern Ireland is technically still part of the UK. So fewer boxes were sent to Northern Ireland.
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