How Will The UK Property Market be Affected by Coronavirus COVID-19?

If you were planning to buy and/or sell your home this year no doubt the global COVID-19 pandemic has recently brought your plans to an abrupt halt. With Estate Agents physical offices closed and their teams working from home to Mortgage Lenders halting new applications the likelihood of being able to move home right now is slim.

Estate Agents

Following the government’s guidelines to social distance and work from home wherever possible estate agents throughout the country have closed their offices and continue to service their clients remotely and digitally.
New properties are rarely coming to the market given agents are not able to visit properties to value and photograph them. Potential buyers cannot view them in person and would rely on video viewings.

Mortgage Lenders

Mortgage lenders are inundated with current customers seeking to organise mortgage payment holidays. Add this to them reducing numbers in their call centres and they are struggling to cope servicing their current customers without adding new customers.

Conveyancing

Potentially the least affected part of the buying and selling process, as solicitors and conveyancers have their teams working from home. The conveyancing process can be done digitally and remotely because you never have to visit your solicitor’s offices. The main problem will be if they have staff that are ill and not working putting pressure on the teams.
There may also be some disruption for searches to be returned as local authorities that cannot work from home and deliver the relevant search information. Some search companies have put safeguards in place so that transactions affected can still complete.

Moving

The problem with physically moving is that it directly contravenes the government’s advice to Stay at Home. If you move into a new property you will not know if you are at risk of contracting the virus, similarly with anyone moving into your home. Moving also requires a lot of organisation and often external companies, for example removals companies, van hire etc.

How Does This Affect The Property Market In The Long Term?

Of course property sales will stall dramatically as long as the country remains in lockdown; the property market will freeze temporarily but many property experts believe that the market will only shrink by a small percentage in the long term. Suggestions are that 2021 will see a buoyant market with a small shift in prices, coupled with low interest rates there are reasons to be optimistic.
The property market remained strong throughout Brexit turmoil and the outlook is that Coronavirus, whilst causing a seismic stop on the property market for a limited time, will not cause the market to collapse long term.

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