Andrews survey

One third of property viewings were still conducted virtually during October

A large number of property viewings were still conducted virtually last month, even though estate agents have been able to resume in-person viewings since the mid-May, according to data collected by estate agency Andrews Property Group.

 

Buyer appetite is also proving to be Covid-19 and lockdown proof, driven by the stamp duty holiday carrot being dangled in front of buyers. Viewing numbers in October were up 6.5% compared to September, the highest level of viewings in any single month this year.

Figures published by Andrews, which has 48 offices across the south of England, showed that a third of viewings conducted in October were virtual. And the number of virtual viewings is likely to increase this month, with the country in lockdown once again.

 

Unlike the first lockdown when agents were asked to close their branches, the property market has been able to remain open during the second lockdown. In-person viewings, valuations and surveys are able to take place in line with Covid-secure guidelines, although the Government has advised that initial viewings are done virtually wherever possible.

 

Seller numbers were steady in October, with instructions at a similar level to September. This suggests there are still plenty of sellers around who are keen to secure a sale before the end of the year, and take advantage of a wealth of motivated buyers with the funds to progress.

David Westgate, Group Chief Executive, Andrews Property Group, commented: “The distraction of rising Covid-19 cases, regional lockdowns and the Government announcing a second lockdown, didn’t dissuade buyers last month keen to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

 

“Buyer activity remained at healthy levels in October, and with the Government announcing that the property market can remain open during November, buyer levels should remain strong this month. 

 

“We would normally expect to see market activity slowing during November as we head into December and the Christmas break. But this year is likely to be different. 

 

“I can’t see activity dropping noticeably when we come out of lockdown on December 2nd. If anything we could see activity pick up as focussed buyers and sellers take the small window of opportunity before Christmas to agree sales and purchases, particularly with the Brexit transition period coming to an end on 31st December.

 

“Buyers will also be fully aware that transactions, from an offer being accepted through to completion, are taking longer than normal and they won’t want to miss out on the stamp duty saving. The motivation to get it done will be high. 

 

“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty ahead of us, but the housing market is resilient. And this week’s vaccine announcement by Pfizer should give buyers and sellers, who may have been sitting on the fence waiting for more positive news, the reassurance and confidence to take the next step.”