Working with property market intelligence company, Dataloft, we bring you our insights into the property market during these extraordinary times.
We have been getting a lot of enquiries about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting sellers, purchasers, landlords and tenants. If you are currently on the market or planning to sell your property soon, we’ve answered some questions that will give you a better understanding of what’s going on in the Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire area.
Our branch teams are still operating from their own homes. So if you have any questions that we have not covered in this article, do get in touch with us for the usual honest and trustworthy property advice we are proud to provide.
Dataloft have surveyed over 70 UK estate agents about property market conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The results show us how the usual housing market rules are starting to bend amid lockdown and social distancing.
Are sellers keeping their property on the market?
Sellers would usually be reluctant to leave their properties on the market for too long. However the majority of sellers are continuing to market their homes, despite less chance of a sale until lockdown rules are relaxed. This is in the hope that people who wanted to move pre-lockdown are now spending their time browsing their future dream home online.
You could compare the current covid-19 crisis to Christmas in terms of property market activity. During the Christmas period, there is not generally a lot of new housing stock. However, we always see a huge increase in website traffic towards the end of December. This is when ‘armchair purchasers’ (having noticed possible downsides to their current living situation over a period of rest at home) begin to have a browse online.
Those savvy home sellers who listed their properties for sale in time get to take advantage of this period. They usually see a high influx of enquiries post-Christmas compared to those who wait until January to market their home. The same applies to lockdown. There is likely to be a rush of houses listed when social distancing is relaxed so you could beat the rush by listing your property for sale now, gaining more interest.
Is a virtual property sale possible?
Our dedicated team at Waterfords can provide a market appraisal of your home’s value via video call if you are keen to sell. If you are really motivated there are even ways to list your property for sale during lockdown. Our team obviously can’t visit your home at present, however, if you are happy to take your own property photos we are more than happy to list your property for sale on the Waterfords website and Rightmove.
You can get a general guide to your home’s value by using our instant online valuation tool: click here
If your property is vacant, for example a new build home or a vacant rental, we can film a ‘virtual viewing’ for your property. If you are currently living at the address, we have created a useful guide on how to create your own virtual viewing video: click here. You can then send us your videos and photos and we can jazz it up for you, write your full property description and get it ‘marketing ready’.
During lockdown, property sales are still happening but are understandably moving more slowly. We talk more about this when answering the next question.
An example of a virtual property tour on new build show home in Camberley:
How to film a property video using your mobile phone:
How long will a property take to sell during the coronavirus pandemic?
Usually, the average time between exchange and completion is 1 to 2 weeks but this looks set to increase. Mortgage providers are offering customers who have exchanged contracts the option to extend their mortgage for up to 3 months to enable them to move later than originally planned. Although it is understandably taking longer than usual to exchange contracts, both sellers and buyers are being patient about the fact that every stage of the sale process has been impacted to some extent. Our advice is that it is still possible to sell during lockdown but a little more patience will be needed, as is the case with most businesses at this time.
If you have any question or concerns about your property sale, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local Waterfords branch: Click here
How resilient is the residential lettings market?
All over the UK there has been an exodus of students and young professionals returning to family homes for lockdown. There is a real possibility some of these tenants will choose to terminate their lease on expiry and return sometime later. This would inevitably cause rental voids for a period of time in some tenancies.
Almost a third (32%) of tenancies across England and Wales are due to expire in Q2, which make them most vulnerable to Covid-19. London is more protected than other regions with just 24% set to expire.
Landlords should be pro-active in seeking to retain tenants through this period, well in advance of their lease expiry date. Please get in touch with the Waterfords lettings team about ways we can help you avoid a rental void in these unprecedented times.
How have Waterfords reacted as a business to lockdown and social distancing?
The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority. We continue to follow all government guidelines and operate our business in the safest way we can. We are unbelievably proud that our resilient staff have continued to serve homeowners, landlords and tenants safely and efficiently throughout the crisis.
During lockdown so far, Waterfords have:
Completed 25 virtual valuations for sale and to let,
Completed over 150 virtual viewings,
Agreed sales on 7 properties,
Arranged 19 new tenancies,
Continued to assist our tenants and landlords with urgent property issues
A message from our Managing Director, Brendan Cox:
“Our senior management team are still working from home and aim to provide the high standard of service you are used to from Waterfords. We have a team of people that are dealing with incoming enquiries from waterfords.co.uk, Rightmove, email and phone. Our team can offer our customers virtual property tours in many cases, from the comfort of our customers’ homes. You can use our instant online valuation tool for an estimate of your home’s value. We are also happy to provide a more accurate market appraisal via video call if you’d prefer.
Our lettings business is still running as normal. We have our hardworking property management team who continue to look after landlords and tenants throughout lockdown. Whilst we hope you don’t encounter any problems with your property or tenancy on top of the current crisis, we are waiting and ready to help. The property management team still have full access to all contractors who are carrying out essential maintenance if needed, following strict social distancing measures.
If you are looking to rent a property or you are a landlord that needs to find a tenant, we are pleased to announce that we are still extremely busy in that respect. Our lettings team have managed to remotely let properties throughout the lockdown due to virtual tours and agreed lets digitally where possible.
It is very difficult to predict what will happen to property prices. However, I have been through a number of recessions over the years. If the worst happens and property prices drop and you are looking to move up the ladder then this could actually work in your favour. The gap is narrowing which makes larger and more expensive houses more affordable.
Waterfords continue to get a significant number of enquiries on both for sale and to let properties throughout Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. We are cautiously optimistic that as soon as lockdown is over, we will see a busy period of activity in the local property market.
Prior to lockdown, Waterfords had the best January to March in history and interest rates had dropped to their lowest rate ever so things were looking very promising.
In summary, I hope that I have reassured you that Waterfords are still very much open for business. We are here to help you, whether you are looking to buy or rent, sell or let a property. We are all very much looking forward to getting back to work in the not too distant future. If you need any further information or to contact us, please do so as normal. Contact your local branch. In the meantime, please stay safe.”
Brendan and the Waterfords team.
Our priority is the safety of our staff and customers.
We are able to offer viewings, property visits and in-person valuations while following strict hygiene procedures.
If you do need to visit a Waterfords branch, it is preferred that you do so by appointment. Get in touch with us to arrange this
Camberley - 01276 66566, Camberley@waterfords.co.uk
Chobham - 01276 858589, Chobham@waterfords.co.uk
Fleet - 01252 623333, Fleet@waterfords.co.uk
Yateley - 01252 870222, Yateley@waterfords.co.uk
Lettings - 01252 623330, Lettings@waterfords.co.uk