While we have been locked in our homes, their prices have skyrocketed.
Berkshire homes are now worth up to Â£ 37,000 more than at the start of the pandemic. For owners, this is one of the few bright spots to take from a nightmarish year dominated by the coronavirus.
But for first-time buyers, stepping up the housing ladder only becomes a more daunting prospect.
This is because house prices across the UK are increasing at their fastest rate since August 2007, and Wokingham in particular has seen prices skyrocket by the most locally over the past year or so.
In March 2020, the average house price in the area was Â£ 408,822. By March 2021, it had jumped 9% – or Â£ 36,666 – to Â£ 445,488.
In other parts of Berkshire, prices have also increased.
In West Berkshire, average prices rose 6.7%, or Â£ 22,765, to reach Â£ 364,933 at the end of March, while there was a 6% increase in Bracknell Forest, an increase from Â£ 19,820 to Â£ 350,644.
Here’s how prices have changed in Berkshire:
Legend: Local authority // March 2020 // March 2021 // Variation (in Â£) // Variation (%)
- Wokingham // Â£ 408,822 // Â£ 445,488 // Â£ 36,666 // 9%
- West Berkshire // Â£ 342,168 // Â£ 364,933 // Â£ 22,765 // 6.7%
- Bracknell Forest // Â£ 330,824 // Â£ 350,644 // Â£ 19,820 // 6%
- Reading // Â£ 286,973 // Â£ 306,181 // Â£ 19,208 // 6.7%
- Windsor and Maidenhead // Â£ 477,904 // Â£ 494,994 // Â£ 17,090 // 3.6%
- Slough // Â£ 290,518 // Â£ 297,199 // Â£ 6,681 // 2.3%
But if you want to see how things have changed where you live in particular, there is a way.
Enter your postal code in the interactive tool below:
Across the UK, average house prices rose 10.2% on the year through March 2021, up from 9.2% in February 2021, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This is the highest annual growth rate the UK has experienced since August 2007.
Average house prices rose in England to Â£ 275,000 (10.2%), Wales to Â£ 185,000 (11.0%), Scotland to Â£ 167,000 (10.6%) and Ireland North at Â£ 149,000 (6%).
However, London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth (3.7%) for the fourth consecutive month.
In early 2020, the housing market came to a halt – with the first foreclosure beginning in late March shutting down realtors and banning visitors.
Once things reopened, average house price growth in the UK accelerated rapidly.
The ONS said the pandemic may have caused homebuyers to reassess their housing preferences.
The average price of single-family properties rose 11.7% through March 2021, while apartments and maisonettes rose 5% during the same period.
Changes in the tax paid on real estate transactions may have allowed sellers to charge higher prices because the overall costs to buyers are reduced.
On July 8, 2020, the Chancellor announced a suspension of the tax paid on property purchases with immediate effect in England and Northern Ireland, with similar policies announced in Scotland and Wales later in the month.
In England and Northern Ireland, properties up to a value of Â£ 500,000 would not be taxed, while the thresholds for Scotland and Wales were Â£ 250,000.
The tax holiday for Scotland ended on March 31, 2021, while it was extended until June 30, 2021 in Wales. In England and Northern Ireland, the size of the tax exemption threshold will increase to Â£ 250,000 on July 30, until September 30.