Coronavirus: will new lockdown measures impact your property purchase?

Coronavirus: will new lockdown measures impact your property purchase?

By Nicky Burridge

While new coronavirus lockdown measures do not directly address the property market, they mean positive change for potential homebuyers

The housing market is set to stay on hold for at least three more weeks despite relaxed coronavirus lockdown measures.

But the new measures could mean positive change for potential homebuyers and property browsers. 

Government announces relaxed lockdown measures

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of measures on Sunday night. The aim is to enable a gradual reopening of society following the coronavirus pandemic.

These measures include allowing employees who cannot work from home to return to workplaces. Though they should avoid public transport. People are now also allowed to spend more time outdoors and travel further from their homes in their cars.

No specific measures were announced to help get the property market moving again.

Instead, it’s assumed that estate agents are in the same category as shops and will have to wait until 1 June before they can re-open their branches.

It remains unclear when viewings and new instructions will be able to start again.

Bike: Shutterstock

Buyers can browse potential areas more easily

Despite no specific measures in place for the property market, the latest coronavirus lockdown measures are positive for potential homebuyers. 

With unlimited outdoor exercise now permitted, as well as long car journeys, homemovers can scope out areas of interest more easily. 

They can also check out the outside of properties that they could previously only view online. 

Coronavirus: Get the latest property news and information

Keeping your property purchase moving right now

Under current government guidelines, people have been asked to delay property transactions until after social distancing measures have been lifted. 

But if the property you’re moving into is currently empty, you can still go ahead with the move. 

In other circumstances, movers have been asked to work together to agree on a new completion date.

Virtual viewings have taken off

Estate agents can work from home and continue to market properties they already have on their books. 

What they cannot do is visit homes to take photographs, conduct appraisals for new listings or show prospective buyers around a property.

Instead, many have turned to virtual viewings to enable people to view homes while in lockdown.

The types of virtual viewing available for homebuyers vary between different estate agents.

Some use 3D cameras that allow browsers to take a self-guided tour around a property. 

Others involve agents taking their own videos as they walk around a property and highlight its key features.

What does the future of the property market look like?

Even when things ‘return to normal’, the property market could look quite different.

Now that virtual viewings have become more popular, it’s likely agents will carry on doing them. Video tours could save time for homemovers and estate agents.

The use of technology gives people an insight into whether or not a property will meet their needs without having to book a physical tour.

Calls for stamp duty holiday to kickstart the market

There’s evidence to suggest there’s pent-up demand from homebuyers and sellers. 

But industry bodies (such as The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The National Association of Estate Agents) have called for a stamp duty holidayto help kickstart the market.

This stamp duty holiday could boost confidence among potential buyers and encourage housing growth in 2020 and beyond. 

Top three takeaways

  • The housing market looks set to stay on hold for at least three more weeks despite an easing in other lockdown measures
  • Estate agents are thought to be in the same category as shops and will have to wait until 1 June before they can re-open their branches
  • But relaxations in exercise rules give potential buyers more scope to explore areas they like in person

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