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UK Housing Market Sees Upswing as Lockdown Restrictions Start to be Lifted

The number of enquiries at one of the country’s biggest real estate agencies peaked last week as buyers came out of lockdown.

Across its more than 100 offices, Savills observed a 30% surge in interest in new homes compared to last year.

Sales figures doubled post-lockdown, though were still below the normal daily average of 4000 home sales in the UK which amounts to nearly 1.2 million per year.

The online marketplace, Rightmove, recorded 5.2 million visits on Wednesday, which is 4% up from last year, while London agencies reported increases in sale instruction of up to 255%.

The positive effect swept the entire sector, resulting in the sale of 906 homes on Wednesday, with a further 1883 properties listed for sale, according to home market specialist View My Chain.

Rural homes are receiving the bulk of the interest which is focused on properties in Hampshire, Yorkshire and on the South coast.

‘Offices outside main cities are getting more interest than city offices’, says Savills’ expert Andrew Parratt, who is heading the company’s country division. ‘It appears that during the lockdown people are re-assessing how much they need to be in cities.’

Zoopla reports that nearly 400,000 property sales were on hold during lockdown. The market officially re-opened with a bang on Wednesday, but it did so with strict anti-Covid-19 measures in place.

According to CEO Mark Hayward, the National Association of Estate Agents sent out guidelines to its thousands of members.

Mr Hayward called it a “new way of working”.

‘Owner, agent and consumer will have to adopt social distancing and if necessary, wear masks and gloves. Viewers will not be encouraged to spend a huge amount of time at the property, 15 to 20 minutes is recommended.

‘Only people from a single household can view a property, there are no multiple viewings and you can’t bring friends or family from outside your home. The number of people will be kept to a minimum, we’d recommend two.’

He also advised against bringing children as the instructions are to not touch anything.

‘Door handles must be sterile, as will any surfaces, and will have to be re-done between each viewing.

‘An interested party can’t get out of their car until a previous viewer has left, they will have to wear gloves and a mask. Ideally, sellers need to be out of the property, whether in the garden, or sitting in their car or an outside garage.’

Andrew Gorcock from Knight Frank estate agency said: ‘All of our offices will have staff working in them from Monday, but the doors will remain locked.

‘Our negotiators will be wearing masks and taking masks and gloves for viewers and there will be no physical brochures.’


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