Today, Friday 12th June marks one month since the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, officially re-opened the English property market by lifting restrictions on the estate agents, as well as the buying and moving process.
It’s safe to say the property sector was waiting with baited breath for this announcement to come and everyone was eagerly awaiting to see what would happen to the market after it was frozen for seven weeks.
Sales were progressing, new properties were coming to the market, and there was a clear ripple effect for all to see.
Figures released by TwentyCi group revealed that the property market was operating at 75% of the 2019 norms, which wasn’t bad. It also revealed that during April, 68% of exchanges were still recorded compared to the same period in 2019.
Ian Lancaster, CEO of TwentyCi Group, said:
“As we enter June and our lockdown, restrictions across society and the economy continue to ease, our key indicators are showing the property market re-bounding at a significant rate and pace.
“Whilst New Instructions and Sales Agreed bore the considerable impact of the property market lockdown in April and May, Exchanges for the same period were 68% of 2019 volumes suggesting an underlying confidence in the property market. As such, with the majority of Estate Agents now back open we remain cautiously optimistic as to the resilience of the residential property market.”
Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO said:
“Estate agent website visitor volumes have now recovered to above pre-covid-19 average levels, and more people than ever are seeking to make contact via digital channels. Live chat on websites has emerged as the most important of these, with volumes of new business leads via live chat up 128% on previous averages.”
As well as new properties coming to the market, part of the process takes into account mortgage searches and applications have also increased.
Figures released by mortgage technology provide Twenty7Tec, has shown that mortgage searches have almost doubled since the re-opening of the market.
Their data showed that between 10th April and 10th May there were 479,486 mortgage searches, yet from 11th May – 10th June this figure had risen exponentially to 955,606.
James Tucker, CEO at mortgage technology provider, Twenty7Tec.
“The difference it [the opening of the housing market] has made to search volumes for mortgages is night and day.
“In the month since, the lifting of lockdown restrictions for estate agents, the total mortgage search volumes using our systems has doubled from 479,000 searches to 955,000 searches.
“We’ve also seen the volumes of first time buyers’ searches quadruple since that announcement. First Time Buyers accounted for 39.4% of all purchase searches in the past month – up from a lockdown low of 31.82% just days before the Jenrick announcement.#
“Remortgage search volumes have increased by 26% in the last month. But whereas remortgages accounted for 69.5% of the market in the month prior to J Day, they now represent 43.99% of the market in the month since.”
However, James Tucker can see that challenges may just be on the horizon where mortgages are concerned.
“There are still some major challenges ahead. Payment holidays are now in place for one in seven UK mortgages and we need to see how those are going to transition back to normal payments in challenging employment conditions.
“Lenders are also withdrawing from the 90% LTV market which is going to make it harder for first time buyers to play their role in the market. So, it’s also quite possible that this till constrain the Government’s housing-led economic recovery.
“We hope that there’s a new price point that emerges quickly between first time buyers and lenders that will continue to reinvigorate the market. Currently, demand well outstrips supply with only 50% of the volumes of mortgage products available pre-Covid now available.”
What have been your opinions since the property market re-opened?