A picture of strength and resilience: Hertfordshire, Essex and COVID-19
In September, we published the third edition of our annual Private Wealth Guide, fully updated for 2021-22 and, as usual, full of facts, figures and statistics outlining the very best that Hertfordshire and Essex have to offer to high-net-worth individuals.
This year, however, has been somewhat different. With businesses and schools closed and the economy in a state of shock, one might expect this ‘COVID-19 edition’ Guide to have presented a somewhat subdued picture compared with the brilliance of previous years. What we found instead was more than a pleasant surprise.
Resilience and innovation
Our research revealed two counties going from strength to strength in the face of extraordinary challenges. From a property market that has witnessed record growth in spite of dire predictions of a house price crash, to business innovators who turned a bad situation into a golden opportunity, this Guide is one that makes us truly proud to live and work in Hertfordshire and Essex.
We also explored how the best educational establishments successfully navigated lockdown and how the two counties offered excellent alternative investment opportunities in the face of stock market turmoil.
This year’s Guide showed a significant upward trend in buyers searching for property here in Hertfordshire and Essex, reflecting a desire for a quieter way of life away from the big city. For example, searches for ‘houses in Hertfordshire’ soared by 61% in 2020, while the popular Essex destinations of Saffron Walden and Walton-on-the-Naze saw searches shoot up by 93% and 87%, respectively.
Thousands of people invested in property here last year, with the Stamp Duty holiday leading many buyers to purchase more expensive properties due to tax savings. A wise choice, considering that house prices are forecast to continue rising, albeit more slowly now the Stamp Duty taper has ended. For example, Hamptons estate agent’s autumn house price forecast predicts growth of 12.5% and 11% for the South East and East of England, respectively, by 2024.
What does the future hold?
The future is looking equally bright for businesses and the economy in both counties. Recently, research from business bank Tide found that the Hertfordshire destinations of Stevenage and Watford are two of the best places to launch a business outside of London. With £1bn to be invested in Stevenage’s regeneration in the next 20 years, the post-war town could shortly become the next big business hub for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the future is looking positive for Essex as well, with Harlow Council welcoming nearly £24m in development funding in June this year to support local regeneration projects and building work underway on a £14.7m enterprise and innovation centre in Braintree.
Rising admirably to the challenge
All in all, our Private Wealth Guide and the data explored in this article both point to a housing market and business environment that have defied and continue to defy all expectations. Against all the odds, Hertfordshire and Essex are emerging from the pandemic as centres for property excellence, innovation and investment, leaving us ever more confident that these two counties are excellent locations in which to live, work, invest, and grow and maintain your wealth for the future.
To view our Private Wealth Guide as a digital flipbook, please see separate links to the Hertfordshire and Essex sections below.
As always, we would be delighted to hear your thoughts and feedback on the third edition of our Private Wealth Guide. For more blogs and information throughout the year, don’t forget to look out for the hashtag #PrivateWealthGuide on our social media.