We shouldn’t be surprised to learn virtual viewing figures have risen.
In October, viewing numbers rose by 6.5% compared to September. October represented the busiest month for viewings in the whole of the year. According to figures provided by the Andrews Property Group, one third of these viewings took place virtually.
Of course, with England undergoing a lockdown across November and December, these figures will likely be even higher by the end of the year. At Coakley & Theaker, we are on hand to help you make an informed decision in the housing market.
David Westgate, group chief executive, Andrews Property Group, commented: “The distraction of rising Covid-19 cases, regional lockdowns and the government announcing a second lockdown, didn’t dissuade buyers last month keen to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. Buyer activity remained at healthy levels in October, and with the government announcing that the property market can remain open during November, buyer levels should remain strong this month.”
Westgate added: “We would normally expect to see market activity slowing during November as we head into December and the Christmas break. But this year is likely to be different. I can’t see activity dropping noticeably when we come out of lockdown on December 2nd. If anything, we could see activity pick up as focussed buyers and sellers take the small window of opportunity before Christmas to agree sales and purchases, particularly with the Brexit transition period coming to an end on 31st December.”
It is important all parties familiarise themselves with the Government advice on home moving during the COVID-19 outbreak. This information can be found on the Government website. The key points of the guidance are as follows:
Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible. Property agents should be able to help you with this.
Members of the public who are visiting an agent’s office or viewing a property should wear a suitable face covering as described in government guidance unless they are exempt from this requirement. This should be confirmed with the agent before arrival. Anyone with concerns should contact the agent in advance of their visit to discuss appropriate measures. The agent may require you to arrange an appointment before visiting the premises.
Viewings should be arranged by appointment only and ‘open house’ viewings should not take place. When viewing properties in person, you should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, wash your hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
If people are being shown around your home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
We recommend that you vacate your property while viewings are taking place in order to minimise unnecessary contact.
Anyone involved in any aspect of the home-moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance. There is further advice about this below.
If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to your landlord, estate agent or removers as they may be able to put extra precautionary measures in place.
Westgate concluded by saying; “Buyers will also be fully aware that transactions, from an offer being accepted through to completion, are taking longer than normal and they won’t want to miss out on the stamp duty saving. The motivation to get it done will be high. There’s still a great deal of uncertainty ahead of us, but the housing market is resilient. And this week’s vaccine announcement by Pfizer should give buyers and sellers, who may have been sitting on the fence waiting for more positive news, the reassurance and confidence to take the next step.”
At Coakley & Theaker, we aim to support the local community as much as we can, and we know this is an extremely trying time. A lot of people are looking for support and guidance, and if you have any property or housing related questions, we are more than happy to assist you, so contact us today.