With the current government lockdown in place, it has affected every industry, including the housing market. This has raised many questions for those looking to buy or sell their property.    

People who were thinking of buying or selling a home before the pandemic may be wondering what to do, possible market opportunities, mortgages, what to do if in the process of selling and what is likely to happen in the next few months. So, we have aimed to answer these questions for you.

1. Is the pandemic an opportunity for First Time Buyers?

Basically……Yes. Because of various factors such as putting property chains together, it will give FTB’s a strong negotiation power. This may well be a good time for first time buyers to slowly start searching for properties and arranging mortgage in principle, ready for when the market picks up again.

If you are a first time buyer interested in purchasing a property in the near future, we would recommend you firstly find a mortgage broker, as they have access to many more mortgage options than your typical bank or building society. Secondly, we recommend you try to arrange a mortgage in principle with your broker, sooner rather than later.

2. Are any properties likely to come on the market in the next few months? And what about mortgages?

Between all of our six branches across North Wales, Williams Estates have upwards of 40+ properties ready to be placed on the market as soon as lockdown and restrictions are lifted. All of our staff are still busy given the circumstances, lots of future viewings waiting in the wings and remote valuations are taking place.

According to Rightmove statistics, as of around 25th March 2020, people were starting to think about houses again, with people increasing their internet time on Rightmove and sellers beginning to enquire about valuations again.

As for mortgages, they are still available to people. We have customers who are still placing offers during lockdown with mortgages being secured.  According to Money Supermarket, the current pandemic is different to the 2008 financial crisis in the sense that, banks and building societies are not faced with liquidity issues this time around. They do have mortgages available to people but some of the lenders are reacting differently from others.  

3. What do I do if I am in the process of selling my house?

As per government guidance, there is no need for those in the process of selling their house to pull our completely of transactions. However, people are advised that they must follow guidance on stay at home and away from others at all times, especially for those who have symptoms, self-isolating or shielding.

The guidance for those moving to a vacant property is that they can continue with this transaction although they should follow the guidance on home removals. Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place.

4. What is likely to happen in the property market next few months?

Over the next few months, customers are likely to continue to see changes to the market. It is likely that as the weeks/months go by and restrictions are lifted, more properties will appear on the market, more mortgages are likely to appear and other associated businesses such as solicitors etc will begin operations again. However, the way they operate may not be back to “normal” immediately. According to Mark Hayward from NAEA Propertymark, an increasing number of agents will offer virtual house viewing, 360-degree viewings, or if this isn’t viable, offer to show properties via video call or recorded film.

All we can hope is that the pandemic is handled properly by our government, which hopefully will reflect positively in the housing market in due course.

NAEA The Property Ombudsman Trading Standards Institute Rightmove Rent Smart Wales