'Pandemic, what pandemic?’ That seems to be the view of a growing number of mortgage advisers who say business is thriving despite initial fears that coronavirus would hinder the housing market.
Mortgage expert Bob Riach has boasted that the housing market is “booming back after lockdown” and that even solicitor firms have started hiring more staff to keep up with demand.
The proprietor of north Lincolnshire-based Riach Financial Advisers says: “The housing market is booming back after lockdown. I have never been so busy.
“I am currently helping more clients get mortgages every day than I used to in a week. A seller can put their house on the market on a Monday, there will be several viewings on a Tuesday, and it will almost certainly be sold by the Wednesday.
“I have spoken to a local solicitor who says that they are employing more staff to cope with the surge in demand.”
He says this rise in activity was initially difficult to cope with for some sectors of the industry, such as estate agents who were not able to complete many of their usual requirements for buying or selling a house, including viewings or face-to-face meetings during the early part of lockdown.
- The mortgage market is very busy
- Many people are moving out of city centres
- Lenders are finding it difficult to keep up with demand
However, once they resorted to innovative methods such as virtual viewings and video meetings, they were able to continue working.
He is just one of a growing band of advisers who have witnessed a rise in demand for property as more people have changed their requirements about where they want to live and are looking to get more for their money.
Martin Stewart, director of London-based The Money Group, argues that the rise in people working from home due to Covid-19 has opened up the housing market because city workers are no longer tied down to living in overpopulated and overpriced city centres.
With the government telling people to work from home again just recently, the concept of living a commutable distance from your job is becoming a thing of the past.
Mr Stewart says: “Last Monday, I had four messages from various clients at different stages in their journey up the property ladder and all of them had decided to abandon city centre living and decamp to pastures new.
“So, the ripple effects of Covid-19 are now starting to reach further parts of our lives and many are now using the changes we have all experienced over the past few months to better enable them to make more positive life decisions.
“Was it all just a dream that we willingly squeezed ourselves onto soulless trains on dark winter mornings to smell someone else’s dinner from the night before and actually pay £500 a month for the privilege?
“It is certainly starting to feel like a long time ago. People buying 100 miles away from their office was previously challenged by the lender, who questioned the plausibility of living so far from where they worked – well that sniff test has gone.”