Will Leyland, 15 May 2020
It’s been quite widely covered that the property market had roughly £12 billion worth of deals ready to complete before the lockdown occurred, showing a large latent and rising demand, whilst people have been unable to view property or move.
Many polls had shown that consumers were keen for the market to re-open to complete moves and begin the process of others, as well as huge numbers of pre-emptive bookings with estate agents.
This seems set to bear out as predicted, with the government announcing that from Wednesday of this week estate agents and other property businesses can re-open to customers and investors.
It marks a significant win for the industry but also highlights the importance of the UK property market to the wider economy.
There has been a great deal of anxiety as landlords, tenants and buyers have been waiting to move and complete transactions, and there was a degree of uncertainty regarding exactly when the government would allow things to return to some normality.
As lockdown begins to ease attention is now turning towards how the industry performs and deals with the extra demand that will inevitably arise through the recent shutdown.
Things won’t return to normality however, as with much of the rest of society there will be new rules and regulations in place to keep people safe.
According to reporting by The BBC of the government’s approach to allowing estate agents and the wider property industry to re-open its doors, it will be England who takes the lead with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following soon after.
Open house viewings will be out of the question in at least the short term, but probably the medium term too. Virtual viewings or even socially distanced viewings will need to take place in the interim with virtual viewings having become more mainstream in recent years.
Government guidelines also state that only one household may view a property at a time and the property must be disinfected where possible across surfaces and door handles and other high usage areas, as would be expected.
If residents are still living at the property they’re encouraged to leave the property whilst a viewing takes place wherever possible, and agents and landlords are encouraged to be as flexible and accommodating as possible.
More than ever, though, common sense applies as with most situations. Keeping distance, disinfecting surfaces, keeping numbers low, these are all measures that most can adhere to easily.
Thankfully for agents, landlords and tenants, as well as buyers and sellers, market demand has barely dropped since the lockdown came into force and the truth is that this is an industry that doesn’t need to adapt much to be able to accommodate the new rules.
It’s a positive step forward and the industry will in many ways be setting the way for other businesses and sectors that are still awaiting the green light in coming weeks.
It also seems apparent that, within the extended months that people have been stuck at home, many people are now keen to get things moving quickly.
Will Leyland, 15 May 2020