14 May 2020
The new normal: Movement in the UK property market
The weeks following lockdown saw a 70% drop in buyer demand and agreed sales were progressing at a tenth of the level expected for the time of year according to Zoopla research. Many people were stuck mid-chain and no new viewings could take place.
The Government’s gradual easing of lockdown is welcome news for people wishing to move in England, those who work in the sector, and those who were about to exchange contracts. They are now allowed to progress with house moves or house building.
Whilst questions remain about how to manage viewings, and maintain social distancing, the news allows a vital part of the U.K. economy to work again and allow the estimated 450,000 buyers and renters* who have plans on hold to move forward.
From a legal perspective your lawyer can take new instructions, work on a conveyance, carry out searches and can give you estimates about timing of the move. Work can be carried out remotely but should the need arise for a buyer or seller to meet their lawyer, this can now be done in a safe office environment whilst following Government guidelines for social distancing and hygiene. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued new guidance for home movers. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-on-moving-home
Whether buying or selling, it is worth instructing your lawyer early in the viewing process as this will help move things along once an offer has been made and accepted.
B P Collins’ lawyers are already seeing demand from those previously stuck mid-sale, or purchase, to move things forward and the expectation is that there will be increased demand by purchasers as the number of houses for sale did not drop significantly during lockdown*.
As yet our lawyers haven’t seen a change in demands from buyers who have now become used to working from home. As new buyers join the market, it remains to be seen if their requirements for a study, a garden and other benefits associated with home working become a priority.
*source: BBC News/business, Zoopla research.