There are a good number of people out there who were geared up to move to a new property or complete the purchase of a house, and then the coronavirus hit. With it came a ban on house viewings and house moves, and those who had started the process to complete their mortgages were set back. People who had arranged York removals and international moves had their plans halted, and their refunds processed, but what does all of this mean for the property market ahead?
Coronavirus hasn’t just affected the UK, of course. It’s a worldwide issue, and while it’s inconvenient that house moves have been stalled in the wake of a pandemic, it’s necessary for us all to retain our health. However, the landscape of buying and renting property has now changed, and we have no idea if it will ever go back to what we knew. Instead, we are all eagerly anticipating a new normal one where house viewings look different, and the economy is on the brink of another collapse.
The “New Normal”
Viewing a new property means going around a new home with an estate agent or a private owner and viewing the property. The new social distancing rules that we have means that people are supposed to stay 1.5-2m apart, which makes viewings for a new property exceptionally difficult. While virtual viewings online have been suggested, it’s important for some buyers to see the house in person and get a real feel for the size of the rooms. Unfortunately, the new way of doing things could mean that we embrace virtual viewings and move forward on faith when it comes to a lot of new properties.
Social distancing and seeing a house is difficult but not impossible, so it will depend on agency to agency as to whether people will be able to view a property in person. Not only that, but social distancing and self-isolation rules have made it difficult for a house to be on the market at all. Buyers are opting to protect themselves and their loved ones and are doing so by staying at home: and rightly so in this climate. The thing is, with fewer people viewing homes, it means that there are far fewer transactions happening right now. This has led to a severe drop in the value of properties - but what about going forward?
While social distancing is one of the direct reasons for the decline in coronavirus cases around the world, the ban on house viewings and moves, in general, has ground the property market in the UK to a halt. This has then had a knock-on effect on those who are looking at removals in York and beyond. If you were in the middle of a sale when the lockdowns began, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to a refund on your current spends, or whether you should ask for a discount on the ideal property you were looking at. You may also be a property seller who may have no choice but to accept a lower offer on your home before the price of property drops. Many people dropped their plans to move, choosing instead to sit tight and wait while the pandemic runs its course. The problem is that no one knows when this pandemic will end, and what do people do if they were already in the middle of a house move when lockdown hit?
If you were one of those that were pricing up the best removals York has to offer and had your home on the market, you may have chosen to take a step back and reverse your plans. Those who were much further in the buying process will likely be speeding up the sales if they can push the deal through while the rates are higher. No matter which way you do it, it’s nothing like what it was six months ago!
A Strong Start
The year didn't start like this, of course. Home movers were gearing up for a property purchase in 2020, as sales and valuations of homes picked up quickly in a range of areas. In fact, Rightmove, one of the most prominent property gurus, recorded the busiest month ever in January 2020. House hunters looked to take advantage of the political outlook, but then everything shifted. Things have moved far slower than anticipated for the year, with some property sales falling through. The big question is whether there will be a fall in property prices after lockdowns have lifted. One of the best ways to judge how much a home could be worth it to see what's being asked for in similar houses in the area. However, you have to be aware of the new social distancing rules and figure out whether now is really the time. There are plenty of monthly house price reports that you can draw from, and these sites that offer that data are solid enough to be correct when it comes to pricing your house.
There are many experts in the field that are stating how difficult it is to predict whether the house prices across the country will genuinely fall or not. The nature of the Coronavirus pandemic is so different from the other property downturns. The 2008 price crash, for example, was caused by the fact that borrowing was so strictly regulated that few people were being approved for a mortgage. It was too hard to get credit at all, and along with high-interest rates, the level of negative equity in properties was far higher. This pushed house prices down and didn't settle nicely along with the unemployment at the time. The pandemic today has halted many property purchases. Still, it's not sure how long this will last for, especially since there is now a backlog of people waiting to book removals York and get moving with their house purchase and relocation. The balance between supply and demand could mean that the house price growth may settle before gently returning to the increased growth we saw at the start of the year.
The hiccup will be the "slow-motion" period between lockdown ending and the property market picking up once more. As people get used to buying after coronavirus, they will get used to social distancing while also getting used to an increase in digital checks. With people unable to speak to property agents face to face, more and more of the process will be done over video chat and digital documentation. By moving everything online, the community transmission risk of coronavirus is significantly limited. As people get used to social distancing, prices will then move up slightly, though some agents don't agree with it being a fast process. The idea is that by 2022, the prices for the property will start moving up again, rather than by the end of 2020.
Property Worth After Lockdown
What will the property be worth after coronavirus? It’s a big question that homeowners are asking right now, and rightly so. Every single property deal out there has two people involved: the buyer and the seller. The seller is concerned their property will fall too low, and the buyer is panicking the sale won’t go through at all due to the number of transactions falling during the lockdown period. It’s so difficult to predict what the house prices will look like, but there are factors to keep an eye on to work out whether those prices will rise or fall. These include the four below:
As long as lenders continue on with low deposits at the current low rates (BoE base rate of 0.1%), homeowners will be able to afford their home and the costs associated with their purchase.
Right now, there is a lot of money being siphoned into the job market to protect the income of the public. Without a steady job, people are going to struggle to buy houses: it will be impossible if they are looking for a mortgage not to have a steady income at all, so mortgages will not be granted. It won’t just matter that there is no way to get removals in York booked: you won’t need them! So, ensuring that secure employment is continued or achieved after lockdown is vital.
We’ve talked about there being a possible economic crash once the lockdowns are over. There are a few scenarios painted by those who watch the economy. These include:
- A possible sharp downtown and a fast recovery.
- A more prolonged downturn followed by a much slower recovery.
- The other option is the undesirable one: the “W,” where there is a dip in the economy, recovery, and a second dip.
The forecast so far is that there will be a downturn and then a rise after that - so fingers crossed that moves can go ahead!
A house is the biggest purchase that most people make in life, so there is a chance that consumers may change their mind in fear of the market changing at the last second. There is also the risk of the property falling into negative equity.
The fear is that those who are selling will have to drop the asking price, which pushes the house prices right down, and the rules could change with stricter lending criteria. Property buyers could be looking at high deposits, which puts the kibosh on viewing properties (socially distanced or not) as it’s just not an affordable option any longer.
So, What About Removals Companies?
At the beginning of lockdown, removal companies were encouraged to only complete moves that were already underway. They were also told to cancel or postpone moves that had not yet begun but were booked in. However, removals companies were also told to use their utmost discretion where possible to ensure that business could continue. The priority has to be on the safety of the staff and the general public. Going forward with lockdown lifting in many places, safety is still a priority.
Home viewings have changed to digital ones, but removals companies cannot do the same thing - no one can move to a new property via the internet! Hygiene and safety must be upheld, and as property purchases are pushed through post-coronavirus, removals in York and around the UK are going to be more necessary than ever. With the use of smart and aware removals companies, you can complete your property purchase and move smoothly. While it wasn't clear whether removals companies were deemed to be essential workers at the start of lockdown, it's evident now that they will be. As lockdown lifts and the backlog of those looking to complete their property purchases need to move to their new homes, removals companies are going to be inundated with requests.
With the right equipment and hygiene measures, and fewer people around, a removal day can go very smoothly. With the help of companies like 1 Man 1 Van, you can ensure that your moving day is as easy and as risk-free as possible. You need the best removals York has to offer, and it starts with ensuring that you choose a company that cares about your health and safety during this period. The lockdowns may be lifting, but the pandemic isn't over, so let's all be careful together!
Contact Us Now
If you are looking for a company that cares about your move, then contact us today on 01904 390 906. Our removals team will be more than happy to discuss with you the measures that we are taking to remain as healthy as possible during the current climate. Our team is professionally trained and are moving people in York and the surrounding areas to their new properties with haste. We have a quote form that'll take you just two minutes to fill in, and you can get a genuine quotation from one of our experts. Your new home is waiting for you - let us help you to get there on time.