The COVID-19 restrictions which were put in place in March are slowly being eased. New guidelines state that the buying and selling of residential properties is now allowed, as long as social distancing measures are followed. Andrew Clark, Partner in the Property team, shares his thoughts on how the outbreak has impacted the property market and what the future holds for the property market after COVID-19.
How has COVID-19 Affected the Residential Property Market?
COVID-19 has brought a vast amount of challenges and changes to the market. It is expected that when the market re-activates, there will be a number of firms, such as estate agents and solicitors, which will not have survived, or which will have survived but be much smaller in relation to staffing.
As a result, their past ability to effectively and efficiently process and complete residential property transactions is likely to be affected, having a major impact on the time each transaction will take, particularly where a chain of transactions is involved.
If you are Buying or Selling, When Should you Contact a Property Lawyer?
If you are looking to buy or sell a property, it is advisable that a property lawyer should be contacted sooner rather than later.
Sellers tend to believe that instructing a property lawyer can wait until after a buyer has been found, and are hence reluctant on spending money on this activity. However, by instructing a property lawyer from the outset, sellers can save time and costs. For example, compiling paperwork for the submission of a contract pack early on can save time once a buyer is found, allowing for the process to continue smoothly and avoiding delays.
Future for Residential Property Market after COVID-19
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was generally predicted by residential property market analysts that the demand was going to create further increases in property prices. One of the major national estate agents recently stated in an article that it is still, in the course of the next 5 years, anticipating a 15% house price increase across the board.
Furthermore, although activity in the market will not return immediately, it is expected that substantial growth in the property market is forthcoming. The desire for property expressed by both buyers and sellers will stimulate demand; this will need to be managed and effectively channelled to ensure that property transactions proceed without delay. This demand creates likelihood that great pressure will be put on professionals involved in the timely completion of a transaction.