Property restrictions lifted – what this really means for the property industry and buyers

Property restrictions for the market may have been lifted, however the dynamics of the industry have profoundly changed and will remain so for the foreseeable future, argues Peter Sheehan, owner and director of prime property company The London Resolution.

The estimated 450,000 people currently in a chain or awaiting their move, will be breathing a collective sigh of relief as the industry machinery starts cranking into gear again However, anxiety among the professional property services is high as they work out how this will operate in practice. The wellbeing of estate agency staff will be a top property for employers – not just for the good of their team, or for business continuity, but also for avoiding litigation.

Never before has corporate social responsibility been so important. Creating a safe workplace for estate agents no longer means providing an ergonomic chair or standing desk – it now means avoiding the situation where an estate agent comes back from a viewing complaining that a person coughed on them and now they may have been infected with Covid-19.

Formal processes will now have to quickly be instigated and followed rigorously, be that with staff avoiding public transport, social distancing in the office, wearing good-quality PPE on viewings or separating staff teams into Team A and Team B, with never the two meeting (for the next few months).

The other significant issue surrounding the property market at this time is the value of property. Not only have property prices been affected, but residential valuations will be affected too. Valuation surveyors will be far more hesitant to undertake in-person research, although the applicants and the banks will no doubt insist on it. Where they can, we anticipate many may choose to undertake desktop surveys instead. The result of this, as well as banks being more risk-averse in the current financial climate, is that banks will be more likely to only accept the lower range figure of the property valuation – making it more difficult for a buyer to achieve a good LTV ration, or indeed a mortgage at all.

Finally, the importance of the virtual viewing process will remain in place once social isolation is over. “Instead of visiting a property several times before making a decision, in the future clients will have gone on two or three online “virtual tours” of the property and be better informed before committing to a physical visit where they may then make an offer. The continuation of the virtual viewing post-Covid-19 means clients are further down the educational process before they pick up the phone to the estate agent.”

The London Resolution is a multi-disciplinary agency providing residential services to clients that include; acquisition, management, design, refurbishment and redevelopment of residential property.


Kindly shared by The London Resolution