As I write this in the second week of May we should by now be at the start of the busy spring property market with a rush of residential buyers and sellers who have been eagerly waiting until Brexit concluded, before putting their property onto the market or making a commitment to buy. Certainly, the first couple of months of the year started off promising.
As of midnight 12 May 2020, a number of measures were introduced which now allow the market to resume with sensible precautions in place and we are currently working through industry guidance to allow this to happen.
We and the public can now undertake more activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property subject to all parties being happy with the arrangement and social distancing measures and health and safety precautions being in place. This includes:
During the lock down period we have continued to advise clients and have clients exchange contracts on several properties and development sites, agreed cash purchases with competitive bidding and received a number of offers on properties which came onto the market before the lockdown began.
The commercial property market has continued despite the limitations, with a number of deals being agreed by our Canterbury office.
So, what is the future for the market over the coming weeks and months as the lockdown measures are relaxed further?
We will adapt viewing procedures to make sure they happen within the social distancing guidelines and we will work with sellers and prospective buyers to achieve this.
We know there have been many people browsing our web site, making telephone and email inquiries to our team to see what is on offer and there is a greater appetite for rural living so we anticipate a further rise in interest from prospective buyers in coming months.
There will be many people sitting at home right now who are looking at the limitations of their current housing arrangements and who may be keen to move as soon as possible.
The longer-term issue of pricing will be one to address and it will be worth reviewing and in some instances refreshing the pricing of property for sale to help the land or house to “stand out”, and to reignite interest or capture the attention of buyers who may have a lower number in mind due to uncertainty.
Rural property will be even more attractive for people keen to escape restrictions on city life and frustrations of social isolation and for those lifestyle buyers looking for the opportunity to increase and enjoy greater control of their outside space. We are sure there will be many buyers keen on their future ability to grow and raise their own food sources – whether restricted to meat, wine, vegetables, poultry or livestock for the more adventurous.
Properties which house multi-generations are likely to continue to be popular so that households can live together, but separately when needed and to help each other out in times of need, so properties with an annexe or buildings to convert to residential will continue to be sought after.
With stock markets and currency fluctuations, buyers may turn to the familiar and reliable investment of land and bricks and mortar for more longer-term stability and capital gains and investment in farmland is likely to increase from a number of buyers, especially as Capital Tax Relief largely escaped the attention of the Chancellor pre-occupied with emergency Coronavirus measures to help the wider economy.
British farmers and growers are doing a fantastic job keeping the UK population fed, which has reinforced the need for a safe and secure supply of British ‘home grown’ produce, and this has proved to be more important than ever during the past few weeks. Let’s hope the public continue to give them their support and buy local as this current crisis begins to pass.
We are all available by phone or email to chat about your property and land needs, so get in touch to discuss your future move or to make an appointment to visit one of our offices.