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Boris awakens the property sector (and many others)

Last updated: 11th May 2020

It’s been a trying time for property since the coronavirus found its way into the UK.

Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS.

The messaging was clear. We sent our teams home (sooner than we were told to) and were set for working remotely.

But while working remotely was fine for some, for others it wasn’t possible:

  • Most construction sites downed tools.
  • Surveyors went home – and stayed there.
  • Conducting property viewings was a no-go.
  • Most lenders withdrew their products to assess their risks.
  • Many conveyancers were furloughed due to inactivity.

All this has meant almost 7 weeks with little-to-no movement in the property sector.

The government never actually told all businesses to close, but as the guidance was left open to interpretation and the nation was put on lockdown, what resulted was effectively an entire pause of the property world – something we discussed at length on our Market Update podcasts. Research found that 4 out of 5 construction sites were shut down at that point.

However, over the past few weeks, players like Taylor Wimpey, Redrow, Barratt and Persimmon have all led the way with reopening sites, implementing major changes to operating practices to safeguard against Covid-19.

With the construction sector slowly kicking back into action, the ‘return to work safely’ message from the government yesterday should allow most of the property sector to get going again while adhering to the safety provisions:

  • Lenders have already started reintroducing products.
  • Surveyors should now be able to kick back into gear.
  • Viewings should be able to be conducted where safe to do so, ensuring safety guidelines are met.

There will still be challenges ahead; construction workers and surveyors will need to ensure they stick to the 2m distancing requirement, as will estate and letting agents, however, these are all positive signs – which are much needed at this time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Are we seeing a new normal? Possibly. Only time will tell.

If you’d like to keep up to date on what’s happening in the property sector throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, you can listen to our market update every Friday where we give you our thoughts on what’s happened each week.

And if you’re on lockdown wondering what you could be doing with your time, here’s a handy guide on how you can come out of the coronavirus pandemic as a stronger and more educated property investor.

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