After months of suspension, England’s property market is finally open again, following the government’s recent announcement that estate agents can reopen and house viewings and appraisals can resume.
Up until now, house viewings have been strictly virtual, something, which like much of the ‘new normal’, has taken some getting used to. Virtual viewings have been popular with overseas buyers for some time, but for the majority this has been a new experience. While there have been some impressive sales and transactions that have taken place during the lockdown period, deciding to make an offer on a property that you haven’t seen in person requires a particular degree of confidence. It is estimated that around 373,000 transactions were put on hold over the past couple of months, worth £82 billion in total. Instead, prospective buyers have been using virtual viewings as a way of shortlisting options, which they can now view in person since restrictions have relaxed.
Understandably, people may be nervous about buying property as the country is on the brink of a major recession. However, since reopening, estate agents have reported an exponential increase in interest, both from buyers and sellers.
London property remains a good bet for investment, and demand has not ceased despite the apparent trend in people wanting to move out of the capital post Coivd-19. Prime central London property was recently ranked as the best performing asset of the past 25 years according to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report. International investors still view London as a safe haven, helping to keep the market moving.
The commercial property market is also showing signs of change. While there has been much speculation over the future of office space post Covid-19, there is strong evidence to suggest that far from becoming redundant, offices will face an evolution – and the requirement to offer an experience opposed to just space. Consequently, demand for high-quality office space from large corporations is expected to eventually surge.
In terms of the residential market, sellers can once again market their homes and buyers can view them. Appraisals and viewings will be carried out by all estate agents in line with strict social distancing and hygiene measures. Measures include:
- Viewers will need to sign a health declaration form before the viewing
- Viewings and appraisals will only take place with one estate agent representative present
- Viewers and home owners may be asked to wear masks and gloves, and must refrain from touching anything, including surfaces, cupboards and pets
- Surfaces, including door handles, must be disinfected before and after the visit
- The property will be well-ventilated before, after and during the viewing
Although these measures may seem strange, it’s a hugely positive step forward for England, and, in particular, London’s property market.
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