The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK’s property market. For starters, there were few property viewings and even fewer property sales.
The property market is, however, slowly adapting to these new and unprecedented circumstances. House buyers and house sellers are resuming their activities, though under current and new guidelines. So what does this mean to people who are seeking to buy a new property?
How Did the Lockdown Affect the Property Market?
The lockdown dealt a massive blow to house buyers and house sellers alike. Agents working for property marketing services were left to rely on video tours to market properties since the lockdown rules prohibited people from physically viewing properties. The video tours have proved ineffective since no one was willing to make such a huge purchase based on just a video tour. Potential buyers are more likely to decide to buy if they see the house physically rather than on some video. The prohibition of physical viewing has caused a decline in the sale of properties.
Moving companies were not exempted. They had to stop their operations because the movers were not allowed to mingle with clients or handle any packages with the risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus. The only exception was if they were moving things to an empty property.
Mortgage companies were not left out either. New mortgages were only available to those who had large deposits and the highest loan-to-value.
Mortgage companies were faced with staff shortages, meaning they had to reduce new client numbers. Reducing customer numbers also meant that they could only accept borrowers with highest-quality loans.
What’s Happening Now?
House viewings are available now, although under stringent guidelines. Agents are advised to offer pre-recorded or live stream video tours of the properties as a first option. In-person viewings have been reserved for serious clients who are ready to make a bid. The prohibition on in-person viewing is aimed at reducing physical contact between buyers and sellers to curb the spread of the virus.
Clients and property owners are required to follow strict social distancing rules during these in-person viewings. Property owners are advised to leave the property as viewing happens and clean the property afterwards.
Two significant changes that have been made are that open houses have been prohibited, and agents are not allowed to drive potential clients to the property. The prohibition on open houses has posed a new challenge to clients. Clients will have to find the location of the property on their own. Clients will also have to find their means of transport to the property, thanks to the new guidelines. This however presents a new problem if you’re looking for a house outside your neighbourhood and and don’t have your transport.
Moving companies have also been given the green light to resume their activities. However, homeowners are advised to do most of the packing for themselves, open the internal doors for the movers, and ask them to wash their hands before handling anything.
The move should be postponed if a person is self-isolating or displaying coronavirus symptoms in the property. The move should be delayed until the infected or asymptomatic person has been cleared or has fully recovered from the disease.
Mortgage providers can provide more products thanks to a slight improvement in the mortgage market. What does this mean to borrowers? It means that they will likely have more options now than back then, even if they have a smaller deposit.
How Have House Prices Been Affected?
It is difficult to tell what is going to happen to house prices, even with psychic powers. The government has its measure of house prices, but currently, the available data cannot be relied on to come up with the figures. The coronavirus pandemic has seen a slight fall in house prices according to a survey.