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What does the reopening of the UK property market mean for UK homeowners and buyers? We look into this question here.
As part of the government’s response to mitigate and control the spread of the coronavirus, the month of March saw the banning of property viewings and valuations on properties in the UK. Some 350,000 transactions were put on hold due to the lockdown. With that, the promising performance of the UK property market at the beginning of 2020 therefore halted and regressed.
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After six-and-a-half weeks of suspended transactions, the property market in the UK is finally opening, slowly but surely. While this news is promising, anyone hoping for a quick bounce back will be disappointed.
What Does Reopening Mean for Homeowners and Buyers?
It is safe to say much has changed. Sellers can place their property on the market again, and potential buyers can now view potential new homes. However, the process of completing a transaction is still at the mercy of social distancing measures.
The Reopening Happened Suddenly for Estate Agents
After the government released the list of essential businesses at the beginning of the shutdown, non-essential businesses, such as estate agents had to close. Then, as the government announced measures to kick-start the economy back into action, they lifted restrictions on the housing market. Estate agents went back into action.
The sudden and unexpected firing up of the housing market took estate agents and trade bodies up and down the country by surprise. They had initially expected a phased restart. But the markets suddenly opened. And estate agents throughout the UK witnessed significant demand for properties within the first hour of opening.
The demand for property has sky-rocketed with the reopening of the market. However, this usually lightly regulated market is now facing significant oversight to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
How Is the Property Market Dealing with Social Distancing?
The housing market across the globe is one of the most unique sectors. For one thing, it requires members of staff and possible customers to enter someone’s home and intimate space. This is the space the government identifies as the battleground for combating the virus.
To keep the market flowing and allow transactions to be completed, sellers and agents need to provide virtual tours for potential buyers before the final in-person viewing.
The reasoning behind such a measure is obvious. It allows the process of the transaction to continue while limiting contact for sellers, buyers, and agents. However, transactions cannot be completed without some form of physical viewing.
To provide a safe environment, estate agents have had to put measures in place to safeguard all parties. Such measures have included:
- Some agents ask buyers to sign a health declaration
- Everyone is subject to temperature checks when they arrive for the final viewing
- When in the property, everyone wears gloves and masks
- Everyone ensures they keep some distance from other parties
What Does Reopening Mean for Sales in the UK Housing Market?
It is hard to predict how these measures will affect the number of sales in the UK property market.
Before the announcement of the reopening, experts across the property industry had widely predicted the heart of the slowdown for the housing market would likely occur in May and June. In fact, Zoopla estimated a 60% drop in transactions during this period.
Experts and analysts now express doubt that any sort of rebound in the market can occur until social distancing measures come to an end. However, as the housing market has now officially opened again, those same experts will be paying close attention to how the market actually responds.
How Does This Translate for Homeowners?
For anyone looking to sell their home, the decision to reopen the property market will be welcome news—until they receive the first offer from potential buyers.
Naturally, offers on a property will be somewhat lower than the original valuation of that property. For many, this is where a stand-off will take place. So how can you overcome the core issue of price disputes?
Although traditional estate agents are well-versed in this sort of dispute, homeowners who are looking to sell their house quickly are turning toward online estate agents. Here, they find a fast and effective solution.
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Online estate agents are more than likely to help homeowners achieve a quick sale of their property. In fact, some guarantee a sale in 30 days or less. Additionally, they also provide the homeowner with a fair final sale price on their property.