What will the housing market look like after COVID-19?

8th May 2020

What will the housing market look like after COVID-19?

A blueprint to revive house sales under strict social distancing rules is to be formulated by Ministers and property industry officials. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher will host a video conference call with the trade body for estate agents to discuss how people can safely begin buying, selling and moving home again.

Proposals under consideration include asking sellers to stay in their gardens during viewings and requiring potential buyers to wear masks and gloves. In addition, viewings of each property could be limited each day.

Government officials held a series of Zoom video conferencing calls with working groups comprising lawyers, conveyancers, estate agents and removal men to come up with a range of measures to reboot the housing market. It is no surprise that House sales have ground to a halt during the Covid-19 pandemic after the Government ordered a temporary freeze in March. An estimated 373,000 property purchases worth £82 billion are on hold until the lockdown ends.

The social distancing plans being discussed will be sent to Public Health England for approval and are said to be expected to be finalised by mid May.

The preliminary discussions focused on a set of standards for 'socially distanced' viewings and legal transactions. Sources said these could include practices such as:

1) Sellers will be expected to open all their internal doors and turn on their lights so that potential buyers will not have to touch any surfaces.

2) Vendors will be asked to temporarily vacate their property during each viewing – perhaps staying in their garden or going to the supermarket or for a walk – in order to avoid physical contact with visitors.

3) Property viewers look certain to be required to wear gloves and masks and will be expected to avoid touching anything within the property boundaries.

4) The number of viewers allowed at each visit is likely to be limited. There is also expected to be a ban on the booking of back-to-back viewings. Estate agents will have to check that no one at the property has Covid-19 symptoms. If any occupant appears to be showing signs of infection all viewings will be called off.

5) Sellers will be expected to clean their homes before and after every viewing. In addition, there is expected to have to be some disinfection work carried out within the communal entry areas in blocks of flats.

6) Lenders will calculate home valuations digitally using existing data on the local market and any in existence for the property being put up for sale – unless the buyer is seeking to borrow a large amount relative to the deposit they are putting down for the house.

7) Any mortgage with a high loan-to-value ratio will require a physical visit from a valuer who will be expected to maintain strict social distancing at all times. Meanwhile, lawyers are drawing up plans for electronically signing and witnessing mortgage documents.

At Anthony Webb we are already developing new ways of working when things begin to return to a 'new' normal and this includes how we can best service our clients with their moving plans.

Our 'Quick off the mark' service includes added extras to ensure that your property has an up-to-date market appraisal, is advertised and in front of buyers or tenants as quickly as possible ensuring your property holds a prominent position when the market starts moving again.​

Please contact our team on 020 8882 7888 to find out more about how we can help you get moving this year!

Stay safe and stay postive!