‘The market will survive’: Agents’ view after government puts housing on hold

Christina Mallinder, pictured when she recently started her own estate agency Vario. Pic: submitted/

Christina Mallinder, pictured when she recently started her own estate agency Vario. Pic: submitted/Archant

Estate agents in Norfolk are fighting back after the government told people to “stop buying and selling homes”.

Some agents are determined to battle on by implementing new measures to cope – with properties still being sold even though people cannot move in because of social distancing.

At Savills in Norwich they have sold at least two homes which have completed but where the sellers are having to stay on in the property ‘on licence’ because the move cannot take place.

It comes as the government issued new guidelines which effectively brings a halt to the buying and selling process.

People who have already been given a mortgage do have an option to extend it for up to three months, however.

Louis de Soissons, Savills Pic: Archant

Louis de Soissons, Savills Pic: Archant

Up to now, agents have been working from home but using technology such as virtual viewings and video tours to keep business going. And new instructions are still coming on to the market – in the past three days almost 90 houses have been listed in Norfolk for sale.

But as Rightmove stated demand for buying houses dropped by 40% last week, it’s feared the government’s new advice may cause the market to grind to a halt.

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Louis de Soissons, head of residential at Savills in Norwich, where he has worked for 33 years, said: “We have factored in a hiatus in the market of around three months, we had such a good start to the year that there is strength in the market.

“But yes, sales will now be put on hold because you can’t physically look at a house, we as agents can’t appraise it and despite all the fantastic technology, no one is going to buy a house without looking at it.

“The housing market will survive and when things improve there is going to be such a huge pent up demand.”

Christina Mallinder, who only just started up her own estate agency Vario, in Aylsham Road, Norwich, before the coronavirus hit, said: “It’s very sad, I can’t help thinking could I have timed it better to open the business but the answer is simple. We’re all in the same boat. Luckily last week I took videos of all my homes on the market and have created digital viewings.

“Yesterday I had a pending offer come into play. The chain is now complete and all parties are ready to go and it looks like we can start the conveyancing process, getting a bulk of work done before having to stop at the survey. I was pleasantly reassured.

“I do feel I could have easily given up and been disheartened but I need to be stronger and work around it. The office stands proud for when we can return to work.”

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