Post-Lockdown Property Market Bouncing Back

Recent Rightmove data indicates that the property market needs to prepare for an immediate surge in demand after home-mover visits to the site exceeded 5.2 million on Wednesday 13th May.

This figure represented a 4 per cent increase on the same day in 2019 with indications suggesting the market is reacting positively to the governmental reopening of home sales.

Unique enquiries and sales demand has doubled in the twenty four hours between Tuesday and Wednesday and was only down by 10 per cent from 2019 levels.

Whilst the number of new properties coming to the market were 90 per cent down when compared with the same time in 2019, sellers are returning to the market. According to the week-on-week data, sellers looking to place their properties on the market increased by 111 per cent last week when compared to the final week of the property market freeze.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove Director and housing market analyst comments:

“The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed  by lockdown, but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum, with the existing desire to move now being supplemented by some people’s unhappiness with their lockdown home and surroundings. Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action. Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks. With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market. If there are attractive lower depos it mortgages available it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the housing market to stay closed until at least June.”

“These guidelines are understandably stringent to make sure the process can be carried out safely. It’s especially important for the recovery of transact ion volumes that prospective buyers and existing and future sellers feel reassured enough to re-engage with their pent-up housing needs, but safety is the top priority for all and so it will take time. All par ties will have to be innovative to work effectively while adhering to these guidelines. There are many bene fits, including freeing sellers of the need to maintain a constant state of tidiness and letting them avoid the frustration of no-shows often associated with frequent physical viewings. High demand could lead to a boost in values for properties that offer inspiring home-working options. But on the other hand, the extra value for a property being close to a popular commuter route may diminish if working from home becomes the new norm. We already saw some early signs of people enquiring more about out- of -city areas so it will be interesting to see if this leads to a change in where people choose to buy now the market has been unlocked.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director at Benham& Reeves in London, said:

“It’s a warm but cautious welcome to the re-opening of the property market after weeks of being cryogenically frozen. The housing market underpins the broader economy and therefore agents are now tasked with being stewards of the recovery but, and this is important, they must also take their responsibilities seriously in terms of protecting customers and staff on valuations and viewings ensuring a social distance between all parties. I think we can now look forward to a swift restoration o f market activity and in time to have prevented big price falls.”

Guy Gittins, Managing Director of London estate agents Chestertons, said:

“This is great news for the many thousands of people who need to move home but, as the government is keen t o stress, this is not a return to normality and everyone has to adapt to the current situation. Physical viewings and valuations can now take place but video viewings will remain a major feature for some time to come and people are urged to make use of them in the earlier stages of their search and only physically view properties if they are genuinely interested and able to place an offer. Any visitors to people’s property throughout the sales process -including the estate agent, photographers, interested buyers and surveyors -will need to confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms and then be asked to adhere to strict guidelines aimed at maintaining social distance, avoiding physical contact and minimising the risk of spreading the virus.”

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments:

“Following the government announcement we experienced an immediate flurry of activity across our branch network. We have a strong pipeline of pending sales which started to move within the first hours of trading . Our Exeter branch, for example, received four requests from buyers to view properties, all be fore 10:30am on the day the market reopened. Meanwhile, our Alderley Edge branch received two request s for valuations and three calls from buyers asking to view properties both above and below the £1 mil lion price band before midday. One buyer asked if it was possible to immediately view a property in person on the day the market was unlocked, however we must remember that Rome was not built in a day. Our immediate priority is to put the health and safety of our clients, their families and our teams first and are ensuring that our branches are fully aware of the Government’s latest guidelines. It is only then that our branches will be arranging physical viewings, valuations and meetings, which means that virtual video tours continue to be an important tool for selling or letting a property. Not only are they easily accessible and fully functional on mobile devices but they also importantly help reduce time spent in physical contact with clients and prospective buyers. In addition to offering a layer o f safety for our employees and clients, virtual viewings will enable us to firm up leads and identify committed buyers ahead of physical viewings.”

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