We’ve written quite a few recent blogs around various aspects of the property market during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, but we thought it would be beneficial if we collated some of the most commonly asked questions and provided answers to them in the one blog.
Throughout lockdown, here are some of the most popular questions we’ve been asked:
Are estate agents open during lockdown?
Most estate agents have closed up shop as the traditional property market has all but ground to a halt, which came into realisation as Rightmove halted their monthly report for the first time in its history.
We have heard of some estate agents keeping in regular contact with their customers just to keep the relationship ticking along, but as for actually selling, there isn’t too much activity.
Are house auctions still running during lockdown?
Not all appear to be open, but we are aware of a few auction companies running a service online which will likely appeal to a few investors looking for a cut-price deal. It may not attract your everyday buyer however as you might not be able to visit most of the properties which requires a bit more of a risk, unless of course they are vacant.
Are they doing anything to try boost the property market after lockdown?
The government’s plan for resuming the property market up until this point has been pretty vague. RICs who are a trusted body who promote and enforce high standards across the property industry have called for government intervention to bring the housing market back.
Can you sell your home during lockdown?
Technically yes you can, you can sell your house at whichever time you want, but viewings are obviously going to be restricted.
If you are selling a vacant property then it is fine to do so, if the property is occupied however you should try and ensure completion dates are set for when it is likely the restrictions will be lifted.
You’re also allowed to sell & move if it is critical to do so.
Can you still move house during lockdown?
As we kind of touch on above, you can move into a vacant property or if it’s seen as critical to do so. We have a blog that goes through everything you need to know about buying & selling during lockdown.
How will Coronavirus affect house prices?
The truth unfortunately is that nobody knows, we’ve never been through anything like this, so the effect it will have on the property market is impossible to forecast.
We do however know the effect it’s had on the economy so far and can provide our expert insight into what we feel may happen based on current trends, which we have done on our blog what effect will Coronavirus have on the property market.
What does Coronavirus mean for mortgages?
The mortgage companies where quick to react to the economic issues that where posed by Coronavirus, and very quickly started making changes to their normal process.
The Bank of England cut interest rates, twice, which lead to tracker rates dropping. Mortgage companies started allowing people to apply for mortgage holidays if their income had been affected by lockdown. A lot of mortgage applications that where in the process of approval also got cancelled.
It was pretty evident, pretty quickly, that mortgages where going to change. We’ve taken a look into what this might mean for mortgages in the longer term from cautious lending to recouping the interest rate.
What effect is Coronavirus having on landlords?
Landlords are in a bit of a tricky situation with all of this happening, if the tenant can’t pay rent then the landlord will be unable to evident them due to the current circumstances. Instead it’s advised that you try and come to some kind of mutual agreement to accept a smaller rent payment in the shorter term and set up some kind of plan in order for the tenants to pay back what they owe overtime.
As an alternative option, if the landlord has a mortgage on the property, they may be able to apply for a mortgage holiday if the tenant is struggling, and pass the saving on to the tenant.
What will the viewing rules be when the market reopens?
Again, there is yet to be any official guidance around this, although I suspect we may hear more in the coming weeks. Our initial gut feeling is that viewings will resume as soon as lockdown has ended, but perhaps with social distancing rules, limiting amount of viewings & duration and perhaps the amount of people that can view at once, which will make things like open houses very unlikely.
Perhaps there is likely to be a rise in virtual property viewings in the future?
Will Coronavirus cause the market to crash?
A similar question to what affect will it have on house prices, we don’t really know. There’s bound to definitely be an initial shock for a few months after lockdown is lifted, the market is likely to be flooded with sellers who have been eager to sell their home over the past few months which will likely cause a reduction in price, when that will balance out is anybody’s guess.
Our CEO, Jonathan Christie, had his say on the matter commenting “I believe we will see a drop in houses price by between 10-15% by the end of 2020 to fall in line with demand, but I expect this to be short term and fully recover by mid-2021, or even sooner.”.