With an estimated £82 billion of property transactions on hold due to coronavirus, the Scottish and UK Government’s announcement that operations could resume, with the appropriate measures in place, was welcome news to many.
The immediate effect of the reopening of the property market could be seen clearly on the property portals – with a distinct spike in searches for properties the day after restrictions were lifted. Rightmove recorded over 5 million visits on 13th May and reported that sales demand doubled from Tuesday (when restrictions were still in place) to Wednesday. We saw a 50% spike in the same period!
The spike in property searches can be attributed to the many people who have had to put their property search on hold due to coronavirus and are now looking to move quickly in order to avoid their own chain collapsing, or just to take advantage of current circumstances. You can’t put life on hold if you have a growing family.
A shift in attitude is also noticeable in terms of the types of mortgage which are being searched for – with a move away from remortgage loans to purchase mortgages. One mortgage firm reported a 27% week-on-week increase in May for the volume of searches being completed.
They said, “We are starting to see significant volumes return to the market – with searches for purchase mortgages in particular, rapidly gaining pace. Searches for purchases are now at 44 per cent of pre-lockdown highs, up from lows of 15.6 per cent in mid-April”.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown, but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum, with the existing desire to move, now being supplemented by some people’s unhappiness with their lockdown home and surroundings.
“Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action.
He went on to say, “Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks.
“With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market.
I can only conclude that the market is returning, and we are seeing increased activity overall. The key is just to get on with it. One customer said to me this morning. “I’ll wait until I see the right property before putting my house up for sale!”
My response, “So if everyone took this approach no one would put their house on the market making it impossible for you to move.”
It only takes a few to lead the way and we are off again which will result in a boost for all.