Housing market bouncing back after lockdown
The property market has bounced back quickly from months under a Covid-19 induced lockdown to be remarkably robust.
Anthony Flint Property Consultants re-opened its office doors to the public on June 22, albeit under a locked door policy, after being closed for nearly three months.
In the past month since being open, the office has been inundated with inquiries from people wanting to buy, sell, rent or let properties.
According to stats from Rightmove traffic to properties in every Welsh region is higher than this time last year.
And this traffic is converting into action.
Unique sale enquires are up 371 per cent compared to pre-lockdown figures and 75 per cent compared to the same time last year.
While unique rental enquiries are up 261 per cent compared to pre-lockdown and 74 per cent by year-on-year comparison.
There has been a similar trend all over the UK.
Rightmove received 5.2 million visits to its site on May 13 when restrictions began to lift in England, an increase of four per cent from the same day last year.
The Guild of Property Professionals CEO, Iain McKenzie, said since lockdown restrictions had begun easing, the property market had bounced back extremely quickly.
Mr McKenzie said: “There has been a steady increase in the number of enquiries coming through, very good levels of activity and sales activity has been improving week-on-week.”
This spike in the property sector following lockdown is a welcome site for estate agents across the UK after the market had only just begun to recover, in the first quarter of 2020, after years of uncertainty due to Brexit and the general election late in 2019.
Mr McKenzie said the property market had begun taking some “very positive steps” in the first quarter registering notable growth before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
He added: “In the first quarter there was definitely a bounce back from last year in the early stages with the certainty of the general election and the certainty of Brexit and the future.
“In the first few months we did see some very positive steps and growth in the market place. Overall stats in the UK showed a 2.1 per cent housing price increase and mortgage applications up 3.7 per cent on a quarter by quarter comparison.”
However the lockdown, put into effect on March 23, saw an instantaneous impact on the housing market.
Despite only one week of March being affected by lockdown there was still a 9.8 per cent drop in transactions (property sales completed) for the month.
Then in April things began to decline rapidly with the market seeing a drop in property transactions of around 50 per cent.
Although the property sector took a major hit during the lockdown, people have come flooding back to the market since, releasing months of pent up demand and frustration.
Mr McKenzie said this boded well for the future.
He said: “While it is far too early to give an accurate prediction what we can deliver you today is the data we have in the early stages.
“That data indicates supply and demand is remaining remarkably robust, the housing market itself is remaining remarkably robust and it is expected any sharp decline will be very sort and we’ll see a very steep return to the pre-Covid business levels.
“Already there are indications there’s as many houses coming to the market today as there were this time last year and the same with sales activity.”
RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) have already developed a long-term growth expectation which said we could see an average growth of just over two per cent per annum over the next five years.
Mr McKenzie said there was a silver lining for the property market to come from the tough few months in lockdown.
He said: “The property sector has leapt a decade in 12 weeks, certainly in terms of technology.
“98 per cent of sellers and buyers would rather view properties virtually in the first instance and only go to see properties that are actually suitable for them physically and in real terms.
“This is of huge importance, particularly in the rental sector.”
The property market, post-lockdown, has seen several new trends starting to emerge.
Gardens and home office spaces have increased in importance when it comes to purchasing a property and more people are looking to make the move out of the city and to somewhere more remote.