When the country was locked down back in March, it was unlike anything anyone had ever experienced before and every single person and industry was facing the unknown.
Although catastrophic in so many ways, it was somewhat novel. The sun was shining and each week there appeared to be more and more help being made available. The country rallied and united in support of the NHS and each other, and there appeared to be a caring, sharing sense of community.
Spending more time at home…
People spent more time at home with family and they reevaluated their lives and living arrangements. Many realised that the world of work had, quite possibly, changed forever, and this opened the door to possibility – a larger house, a new location in the countryside, or even a downsize to free up equity.
As lockdown eased, the pent-up demand built from two years of Brexit talk and three months of lockdown resulted in a house-sale frenzy.
Now let’s fast forward seven months and try to start with a positive. Despite the impending second lockdown presenting an extremely worrying time for many, there are, if only a few, some positives. Schools, for now, will remain open meaning parents can continue to work, and unlike before, many people and businesses have managed to adapt and evolve their usual working practice in order carry on in some capacity. Of course, I fully acknowledge that this will be of little comfort to those sectors which have been ravaged by the pandemic, and sincerely hope that the support being offered is increased to help more businesses survive.
Fortunately, at present, it would appear the housing market can continue to operate. For me, enabling people to move in order to fulfil their personal living requirements so as to have a safe, stable and affordable environment to live is essential. A fluid housing market also breaths life into so many other sectors of business, from mortgage brokers and conveyancers, to removal firms, tradespeople and furniture suppliers, to name but a few.
Sadly, I think the biggest challenge we will face in the housing industry this time is sentiment. The weather has turned and so too has the mood of the country. Despite the furlough scheme having now been extended, many people have already lost their jobs. Businesses, which thought and hoped the world would be back to normal by now, are having to look at their forecasts for 2021 and significantly revise them down.
We’ve seen mortgage lenders withdrawing many of their deals on low-deposit home loans in a bid not only control the volume of business, but because some are nervous of a possible house-price crash next year. This particularly impacts first-time buyers who typically put down 5 or 10 per cent of the house price as a deposit. Many lenders have also raised interest rates over past weeks, even as the Bank of England base rate has remained at its record low of 0.1 per cent.
With Covid cases on the rise, people are undoubtedly going to be more cautious. Vendors will likely only accept viewings for serious proceedable buyers, and similarly buyers will only want to view houses they have a strong interest in.
Yes, good houses have been selling very quickly, but what we are starting to see is that more houses means more choice. This means buyers are willing to hold on for the perfect home and those which have not sold yet, perhaps because they are not in the best location, do not have a garden or lack curb appeal, are remaining unsold for longer.
Most worryingly is also the rise in the number of people who may be forced to sell their homes because of loss or change of job and with so many house transactions being processed there is a real delay in completions.
If you are in a position where you wish to sell your property quickly and would like to discuss a quick-sale option, you can call us at WeBuyProperty for a no obligation chat.
Tommy Hughes, Director
Phone number: 0207 449 9797