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How COVID-19 is affecting the property industry

With COVI-19 affecting the UK on the market (in addition to the health of our nation), the property scene appears to be somewhat uncertain. Here we have a short summary of specific effects surrounding the property industry and what this means for buyers and sellers.

The market

We cannot yet receive authoritative figures on how estate agents have been badly affected by the lockdown. However, the mortgage centre can provide some insight.

Earlier this week, the volume of searches dropped by 15.46 per cent, and the volume of prepared documents dropped by 5.4 per cent. What’s more, the total value of loans documented was down by 3.4 per cent.

Twenty7Tec chief executive James Tucker says: “In ‘normal’ weeks, we’d see a Monday spike in activity as weekend viewings turn into mortgage searches, but this has been flatter for the past couple of weeks, with the rest of the week then failing to make up the difference.”

Removal firms cancel bookings

Removal companies have received advice from their main trade body to put a stop to the majority of transactions that have not reached a late stage. The British Association of Removers has informed members to only work on moves that are currently underway. Any that have been booked but not started should no longer take place.

Outrage at agency asking staff to work in branches despite lockdown

There has been national newspaper publicity and widespread social media criticism of an estate agency in London that asked its staff to report to work. This demand was to be met despite the government plea to keep people working from home. However, this is not the only case we have seen.

It has been noted by many locals in Manchester that certain estate agents continue to work in their business location as normal. However, we would like to assure you that at Joules Estate Agents, we use cloud-based software & are all working remotely. Also, our telephone lines have been transferred so you can still call us as normal. We are committed to serving your needs.

Mortgage holidays

Recent guidance by the Financial Conduct Authority has been released to clear up some of the uncertainties regarding mortgage holidays. Lenders should approve payment holidays for an initial period of three months if they find themselves facing payment difficulties as a result of the virus and where they have indicated they wish to receive one.

They should also ensure that there is no additional fee or charge as a result of the payment holiday. However, there may be additional interest as the “holiday” period is added as an extension to the term of the loan. In terms of how customer’s credit ratings are affected, the holiday period should not be counted.