The end of March normally heralds the beginning of Spring and a fruitful time for the UK housing market. Yearly figures show house sales during this season rise and continue right the way through to Autumn. However, this year, dominated by the coronavirus, sees everyone asking whether the real estate industry can survive a pandemic.
In months that should, in theory, be the busiest for estate agents across the country, the jury is out, and experts seem divided. Some say prepare for a recession while other confident insiders say the market can hold up. Let us look at what the major property portals and builders say.
The UK Housing Market in 2020
In an Express Newspaper report, Rightmove says the number of houses up for sale has stayed the same, even though government restrictions and social distancing protocol prompted viewings to halt. However, predicting which way the market will go, is still up in the air as everyone waits to find out how long the lockdown will happen for, and the impact on the economy.
Financial data analysts typically use three months’ worth of house sales to predict the future of the market. Still, with coronavirus taking everyone by surprise, this means experts are less likely to put their name to a prediction until July 2020. The same newspaper report says, Taylor Wimpey, will reopen building sites by the end of May; hence, this is a sign of confidence in the housing sector.
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Meanwhile, Savills who have done their own set of number crunching, say a rebound will follow an unavoidable sharp contraction in late 2020, early 2021. The reason for the delayed bounce back is economic uncertainty, and social distancing restrictions that will become the new normal, until vaccines are available or protocols are relaxed.
Further adding the impact on house prices will be short-lived than the global recession of 2008, they also keen to point out Brexit impacts as are of yet, uncertain. Meanwhile, Investment Week called the real estate market, a house of cards, just waiting to fall and a 2020 recession is unavoidable, with recovery happening in 2021.
Buying Trends in the UK Market Set to Change
While the consensus is the housing market is and will suffer until next year, other agents are looking at how the coronavirus is changing buyer’s lifestyle preferences. Julian Walker, CEO of Spot Blue Property says the virus will change the way we buy and sell houses. He predicts a rise in the rental and selling markets for properties with large gardens, spacious rooms and for the working professional, a home office. He says…
“For many years, experts have said working from home is beneficial for employers and employees. With companies forced to test out this theory, and to find out it works for both parties, in future years to come, a home office will be a core feature for many white-collar home buyers.”
Additionally, the way we view houses will change. In current times, more sellers are turning to virtual viewings to sell their homes, alongside professional photos. The virtual viewing technology enables potential buyers to wander through each room of the house and zoom in for detail, while sat in their armchair. The bonus for both buyers and sellers is it saves time.
Julian Walker stresses that while many agents, buyers and sellers are looking at how the real estate industry will perform over the next five years, to stay on top of the game, they should also look at how the coronavirus will affect the way we buy and sell in the UK housing market. In this article, he discusses why virtual technology will make online shopping for a home, the way of the future.