Estate agents predict ‘burst of activity’ as Boris lifts property out of deep freeze
Agents are digesting the sudden good news that they can return to selling houses after the government lifted lockdown on property.
People can now visit estate agent offices or developer show homes, view homes for sale or rent and move house. This comes as a complete lifting of lockdown rules which put buying, selling and letting of homes on hold with agents limited to doing paperwork and virtual tours.
But now the industry is back in business, the general view is that we can expect a property ‘bounce’ because of so much pent-up demand and lots of houses waiting in the wings ready to go up for sale.
Jan Hytch, partner at Arnolds Keys, with branches across Norfolk, and the chairwoman of Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents, said: “There are literally hundreds of viewings held up until this moment. A surge of new property will come to the market which has been prepared ready to launch so there will be a burst of activity over the next few weeks.
“It’s too soon to say whether house prices will rise or fall because a lot depends on buyer confidence.”
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Jame Minors, owner of Minors & Brady estate agents with offices in Dereham, Wroxham and Caister, said: “We had 91 enquiires last weekend with people desperate to view and to have us out to value their homes. Families need to upsize and those who have been isolated in apartments suddenly want gardens. It’s been a time of reflection for us all.
“A frozen property market means a hammered economy; the housing market has always propped up an economy along with construction. If they can get the wheels moving on these parts safely, it sets the groundwork for the rest of the businesses in our economy.”
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Smaller estate agent owners such as Christina Mallinder, who opened Vario in Aylsham Road, Norwich after leaving a corporate firm, said: “It’s an honour to be one of the first businesses to help kick-start the economy however our industry must act sensibly.”
Developers – many who have just started returning to work on sites – welcomed the re-opening of show homes. Local firm Abel Homes is reopening its show homes and sales offices on Friday, May 15 with social distancing and safety protocols in place.
Stephen Wilson, senior associate at Leathes Prior solicitors in Norwich, with a large residential property department, said it was vital the industry returned to work while adhering to government guidelines.
“We are now expecting to see estate agents, removal companies and valuers/surveyors return to work, provided that they are able to operate a safe working environment and follow the necessary guidance and law in regards to risk assessments and the health and safety of their employees, clients and third parties.”
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