Residential  

Property concerns start to ease ahead of market reopening

Property concerns start to ease ahead of market reopening

Consumer confidence in the property market is beginning to return, as research showed the percentage of home sellers concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on their property sale has dropped.

A survey by estate agency comparison site GetAgent found a third of home sellers were currently ‘extremely concerned’ about how the coronavirus has affected their property sale, compared with 42 per cent two weeks ago.

There was also a slight decrease in the percentage of buyers that said they would not make an offer on a property in the current market conditions, from 46 per cent two weeks ago to 43 per cent.

From today (May 13) the housing market in England has been allowed to reopen after seven weeks of lockdown in which viewings could not be conducted in person.

The survey found that 79 per cent of home sellers were planning to market their property within the next 12 months, although 64 per cent still believed their sale would be delayed between three and 12 months.

New listings, however, remained low having reached a peak of 2,009 per day in May, compared to 8,642 in February before the lockdown.

Listings added per day

Unique new property listings added to Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

Commenting on the data Colby Short, founder and CEO of GetAgent, said home sellers and buyers were starting to think about life after lockdown.

He said: “It’s reassuring to know that the market remains poised to spring back into action” but that “it may be a month or two yet before we see a full return to normality, if at all…”

Mr Short said the “pent up level of buyer demand should ensure that any pandemic related impact on house prices is short lived.”

Last week a group of industry representatives wrote to the secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government with proposals on how the government can initiate a speedy recovery of the housing market.

Commenting on today's reopening of the market Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: “It’s fantastic news that agents aren't going to have to wait until July to start showing properties properly again, as we will find out sooner rather than later whether some of the more dire predictions for the housing market will come true.

"In London, we have seen absolutely no sign of the conditions that would normally precipitate a marked fall in prices. We expect a similar picture to be playing out across the country. 

“Lack of supply exacerbated by sellers delaying their moves until after the pandemic has eased significantly is going to put a floor under prices, much like it did during the Brexit negotiations. Borrowing rates are extremely low too and that’s going to boost buying power.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com