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Coronavirus: Latest updates from Nested

Regular updates on Nested's response to the Coronavirus and the wider impact on the property market.

From all at Nested
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In uncertain times, we've taken every precaution to enable home sellers to continue where possible. From virtual valuations, to virtual viewings for buyers, we've made as much of the process remote as possible.

If you're thinking of selling, learn more about Nested remote, our new digital-first selling option.

Important news (Updated: 27/3/20)

  • Buyer demand has dropped 40% and transaction volumes look likely to follow suit in the coming months
  • Santander, Halifax and Natwest are latests lenders to suspend face-to-face valuations
  • The Government has confirmed that home moves are able to continue only if absolutely unavoidable

Recent updates

Thursday 26th March: Demand for housing down by 40%

Data released by Hometrack reveals that over the last week buyer demand has fallen by 40% compared to the previous week, as households are forced to self isolate. Pre-coronavirus, the property market was starting to recover with renewed consumer sentiment registering the strongest start to a year for half a decade.

Despite the considerable drop in interest, motivated buyers do seem to still be in the market place, with some sales still being agreed subject to contract. Agreed sales are down 15% over the last week, however only 4% down on this time last year.

On a more positive note, there is little evidence of major withdrawal of properties from the market. New stock has indeed been listed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, however unsurprisingly at a much slower rate.

The Hometrack data suggests that sales volumes are likely to fall by around 60% before they start to recover. However, when the restrictions are lifted it is likely there will be a strong bounce back from both sellers wanting to list and buyers wanting to purchase.

Wednesday 25th March: Lenders to suspend physical valuations with immediate effect

With the new social distancing rules in full force and further confirmation from the Government about what home moves are considered essential, lenders have taken the decision to suspend face-to-face valuations with immediate effect. Santander, Halifax and Natwest are the latest banks to confirm that physical valuations will not be possible for at least three weeks.

Lenders are trying where possible to conduct desktop valuations, however this will not be possible for all cases. New builds, buy-to-lets, flats and properties over £3m will not be eligible for desktop valuations and so many moves will be forced to stall until the strict social distancing rules are lifted.

A Government spokesperson has confirmed that home moves are able to continue only if they are absolutely unavoidable and if those involved are able to practice social distancing safely.

“Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.

“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”

Where moves do need to go ahead, all those involved should take care to follow Government guidance on social distancing and hygiene. See Public Health England guidance.

Tuesday 24th March: Further updates to sellers cancelling all viewings and photography

Nested’s primary commitment is keeping our customers, their families and our employees safe during the Covid-19 disruption. The fast-moving nature of the situation, including regular updates to official advice, require us to make frequent changes to our policies to ensure everyone’s safety.

We had already moved to digital by default and advised customers to minimise in-person viewings, however, we now need to go further, and stop all viewings entirely.

As a result of the government’s announcement to further restrict movement yesterday evening (23rd March), the following changes have been implemented immediately:

  1. All in-person viewings have been cancelled. We will now offer strictly virtual viewings with 3D walkthroughs guided by one of our expert agents for all buyers
  2. All home photography for sellers has been cancelled. If you have photography booked in for this week the photographer will no longer attend

If either of these changes affect you, please get in touch with your sales manager to discuss in more detail.

We will continue to listen to Government advice and review all our policies as guidance is updated. As ever, the policies announced today are subject to change. We will continue to update our customers and the wider market with any and all changes as we continue in our efforts to keep everyone safe.

Finally, I urge you to heed the government’s advice. Please stay at home, and only leave the house if it is absolutely necessary. Please be kind to one another and do not stockpile to give everyone the chance to access goods they need, including key workers.

If you have any questions at all please drop me or your sales manager a message.

Tuesday 24th March: New Government measures putting home moves on pause

Since Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday evening, the housing market has effectively been asked to shut its doors. The Government has confirmed that no further face-to-face viewings or valuations should take place.

A statement has also been released from the British Association of Removers (BAR), stating that house moves should only be completed that are currently underway and that any move that has not yet started, should not go ahead until further notice.

The current restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks time, but there will be no guarantee that normal order will resume. Although these measures have put a halt to proceedings for most, it will give both buyers and sellers some time to analyse their moving decisions as well as give sellers time to make those home improvements they were always meaning to, but never had time for.

Friday 20th March: New measures for Nested agents to minimise in-person contact

The virus is still very early in its development in the UK and it is therefore unclear how this will play out, so this guidance will likely change over time. As such, we will be keeping a very close eye on government advice over the coming days and weeks.

We see it as our job to take prudent steps to protect the health and safety of our customers, buyers and our staff while we continue to work hard to get the best outcome for our customers.

As such, we are currently taking the following measures:

  • We have rolled out virtual viewings for all first viewings to ensure that we bring only qualified buyers to your home and minimise disruption and social contact.
  • All buyers scheduling viewings are asked about recent travel and any symptoms in advance. Anyone deemed to be at risk will be required to reschedule in accordance with prevailing government guidance around self-isolation.
  • The Sales Associates conducting viewings use hand sanitisers before entering your property and will ask prospective buyers to do the same, as well as advising them to minimise touching of surfaces.
  • If a buyer displays flu-like symptoms ahead of or on a viewing, your Sales Associate will immediately cancel the viewing and reschedule only after 7 days of no symptoms.
  • All our staff are now working from home to avoid any unnecessary travel.

Wednesday 11th March: Communication to all current sellers from James Turford, Founder and COO

We wanted to update you on what Nested is doing to manage the risk of COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) with regards to your sale.  The virus is still very early in its development in the UK and it's therefore unclear how this will play out so this guidance will likely change over time.

It may feel early for us to contact you about this, however, we see it as our job to take prudent steps to protect the health and safety of you, buyers who view your property and our staff while we continue to work hard to get the best outcome for your sale.

As such, we are currently taking the following measures:

- We will be rolling out virtual viewings as standard for first viewings to ensure we bring only qualified buyers to your home and minimise disruption.

- All buyers scheduling viewings are asked about recent travel and any symptoms in advance. Anyone deemed to be at risk will be required to reschedule in accordance with prevailing government guidance around self-isolation.

- The Sales Associates conducting viewings use hand sanitisers before entering your property and will ask prospective buyers to do the same, as well as advising them to minimise touching of surfaces.

- If a buyer displays flu-like symptoms ahead of or on a viewing, your sales associate will immediately cancel the viewing and reschedule only after 7 days of no symptoms.

- All our staff are asked to work from home if they have any flu-like symptoms.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Sales Associate who will be happy to address them.

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