The housing market has been an obvious casualty of the Coronavirus lockdown. Yet the desire to move is strong, once the decision has been made. Indeed, as soon as the government announced that people could once again move house, Rightmove buyer and tenant enquiries doubled within 24 hours. They were even 4% higher than the same day last year!
This actually combines with our own experience in this time. We have had a number of enquiries from people keen to move however there should remain a degree of caution, as many buyers, and tenants may not be in the same financial position now as they were eight weeks ago such as been the sweeping impact of Covid-19. Stringent qualification of applicants must be in place to ensure that concerns on affordability are put to bed quickly.
Time has been a gift for many – nothing has needed to be rushed and full preparations can be made – that touch of paint, garden tidy, garage clear, etc have all had their place and we have been impressed how landlords and sellers have adapted to our new norms!
We’re expecting momentum to build over the coming weeks and months, especially as there is unlikely to be any summer holiday lull this year! Those whose plans have been unaffected by the pandemic are leading the charge here, but there will of course be virus-related moves as well, which could help fuel the market. For example, additional sales may be created as a result of:
a) Job losses (sadly), prompting people to consider moving as they pursue other opportunities.
b) New jobs being created as businesses reappraise their efficiencies and locations.
c) People realising that working from home has worked well for them – but a bit more space would really help.
d) Frustrated family members, pulling their hair out under lockdown, deciding to buy a place of their own
e) Buyers locking-in a low interest rates before any potential hike
Certainly, space to work from home will now command a premium – even potentially replacing proximity to transport links as a must-have attribute!
One problem is that this demand is not being matched by properties coming to market in this area. Estate Agents have generally not been able to list properties over the past month and the tight social distancing regime continues to be a challenge. Tenants who have struggled to move previously may not be let loose which will hopefully see a return of some letting stock.
We have been amazed at how flexible and innovative local homeowners have been. Many, keen to prepare for the deluge, have provided us with some very clear and often entertaining virtual walk-throughs which have given us a pretty good indication of the type of property we’ll be preparing to market.
So please don’t wait “until the coast is clear” (it may never be)! If a move is on the cards please do call us to talk through how we can help you take advantage of this unexpected increase in demand over supply. Together, let’s secure a safe, satisfying sale or tenancy.
As of Monday 18th May the office is now open on a by-appointment basis, we are also happy to discuss any requirements by phone, or even Zoom. Please call us on 01202 554470,
Last week Matt & James discussed the re-opening up of the housing market from a letting’s perspective, you watch their video here –