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New homes coming for sale in Norfolk drop by almost 85pc since coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 10:25 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:25 23 April 2020

Houses for sale dropped by nearly 85% in Norfolk in the past month compared to before coronavirus. Pic: Archant

Houses for sale dropped by nearly 85% in Norfolk in the past month compared to before coronavirus. Pic: Archant

Nervous Norfolk sellers who are delaying putting their homes on the market caused new instructions to nosedive by almost 85pc since lockdown.

At what is usually one of the peak times of year for homes coming up for sale, there is a property deep freeze with many estate agents being furloughed and others putting sales on hold.

Even though homes are being listed – around 30 in Norfolk over the past three days, lockdown means potential buyers cannot view and vendors have to stay put.

And so few new homes came up for sale over the past month that property portal Rightmove – itself struggling due to the virus – has scrapped its monthly report on asking prices.

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Meanwhile the backlash is growing against Rightmove with around 1,500 independent agents across the UK including around 20 from Norfolk joining a ‘Say No’ campaign. They are urging the site to give them either a 75% discount over the next four months or a complete payment holiday for the next three months.

Nick Taylor, former chairman of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, and managing dircetor of Hadley Taylor which specialises in Golden Triangle properties in Norwich, said: “Websites at some point lose their relevance and this is about to happen to Rightmove.

“The biggest change, however, is in consumer behaviour. House buyers no longer go straight to Rightmove when looking for a new home. Increasingly consumers are searching more generic terms such as ‘houses for sale in Norwich’ and this brings up all the property portals and most estate agents in the area. This means that Rightmove’s unique selling point has been diluted.”

A report out comparing instructions coming on to the market over the past month of lockdown compared to the month before coronavirus struck saw the number in Norfolk down by 84.3%pc – above the national average of 81pc. Suffolk fared even worse, at 86.5pc, and Newmarket saw one of the UK’s lowest number of new instructions in the period – just nine, according to the report by GetAgent.co.uk

But estate agents remain optimistic. Adam Thompson from Norwich’s Reality said: “We are still progressing sales, however solicitors are delaying exchange of contracts until the lockdown has been lifted. There will still be a vast demand for people to move home.”

Charlie Webster, of Websters, in Norwich, who’s joined the ‘Say No’ campaign, said: “Our sales pipeline is the biggest it’s ever been so hopefully that will help in three-four months time when things may bet better. Lots of owners are still putting their houses on the market.”

Can I still put my house on the market?

There is nothing to stop you deciding to sell your home and instructing an estate agent to do so, although this process cannot currently be done in person. The current government rules stipulate people cannot leave their house “without reasonable excuse” meaning in-person viewings are not allowed. You can explore options available with your estate agent to use virtual viewing technology or video links.

What if I have a moving date booked?

The government has stated house moves can only go ahead if “unavoidable”. Where possible, people should delay moving while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find removals companies or vans for hire to physically get moved. In the event of this, it is possible for a purchase of a house to go through but for the buyers to delay moving in and the vendors to stay in the house “on licence” for a period of time.

What happens if I cannot complete on a property purchase because of coronavirus restrictions?

Contracts are being rewritten with Covid-19 clauses allowing completion dates to slip without penalty if people need to delay because of coronavirus restrictions.

For more updates on coronavirus in Norfolk see the Facebook page here


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