In mid-May, the property market reopened after nearly two months of inactivity – and buyer demand surged. Almost immediately, the number of visitors to Rightmove soared back to pre-lockdown levels, with site activity reaching record levels on 27 May*.
In its latest Housing Market Update, estate agent Savills welcomed this increase in activity; however, it did add the caveat that it was rising from exceptionally low levels – just 10% to 20% of pre-lockdown activity. The pace of longer-term recovery, it added, would depend on the state of the wider economy.
A short-lived rebound?
Buyer activity may have reached highs, but actual property transactions are lagging, analysis found. Meanwhile, with half of employers still anticipating redundancies once the furlough scheme ends, widespread financial difficulties and an unsettled employment market could once again see demand take a tumble.
What most sources do appear to agree on, however, is that the property market will normalise – it will simply take some time.
Virtual viewings and valuations – the new normal?
Although the property market has been given the official green light, the entire purchase process will look very different for months to come. However, the industry has shown itself to be remarkably innovative, harnessing technology in never-before-used ways to get the market moving as quickly as possible. Virtual viewings and even virtual valuations using photographs and videos of the property are well on their way to becoming the norm, with only the most serious of buyers allowed to physically inspect their chosen home.
Mortgage payment holidays prove a lifeline to millions
In March, homeowners were allowed to defer their mortgage payments for three months without it affecting their credit rating. As the sheer impact of the crisis became clearer, however, the deadline for applying for the scheme was moved to October, potentially covering homeowners all the way through to January. At the time of writing, the scheme has provided relief to 1.8 million homeowners*.
A guiding hand in uncertain times If you’re looking to move home, speak to us. We can help find the most suitable mortgage deal for you and provide clear, up-to-date advice to guide you through the process. Just get in touch.
** UK Finance, 2020
As a mortgage is secured against your home, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up the mortgage repayments.