To the industry’s relief, the property market was given the green light to reopen in mid-May, causing a renewed surge in buyer demand. Rightmove saw a huge spike in site activity that same day and later had its busiest day ever on 27 May1.
Although this renewed activity is starting from exceptionally low levels – just 10% to 20% of levels seen immediately prior to lockdown2 – it is a welcome sign, according to Savills’ latest Housing Market Update. In the longer term, the recovery of the property market will move in line with the state of the wider economy, it concluded.
Renewed buyer interest is positive, but this hasn’t yet translated across to increased property transactions, says Zoopla3. Furthermore, with many people suffering financially and half of employers still anticipating redundancies when the furlough scheme ends4, it’s possible that we’ll still see a fall in demand later down the line. It’s not all negative, however. Most experts seem to agree that the property market will eventually stabilise – we just need to sit tight and be patient.
Before the pandemic, buying a property was a contact-heavy process, with multiple house viewings and face-to-face meetings. Although the market has now restarted, buyers and sellers are looking at a very different transaction experience for the foreseeable future. Estate agencies have had to find innovative solutions to common problems, using technology to facilitate property viewings and even valuations using photographs and videos of the property. Regular deep cleans are required to ensure sales go through, but even so, buyers will only be able to physically view a property if they are seriously committed to purchasing it.
By late May, 1.82 million5 homeowners had applied for a mortgage payment holiday to help them through the coronavirus crisis. As the economic impact of the pandemic has continued to reverberate, the deadline for applying for the scheme, originally set to end in June, has now been extended until October. This means that homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgage could potentially be covered until January.
The property market is at the very beginning of its recovery, but there’s a long way to go. If you’re looking to buy or sell a property, get in touch. We can offer clear, up-to-date guidance for a stress-free transaction.
1Rightmove, 2020, 2Savills, 2020, 3Zoopla, 2020, 4People Management, 2020, 5UK Finance, 2020
As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.