Regular updates on Nested's response to the Coronavirus and the wider impact on the property market.
In uncertain times, we've taken every precaution to enable home sellers to continue where possible, in a safe manner.
Now the government has lifted restrictions on in-person home viewings, the property market is moving again. Keeping our customers and employees safe is the top priority, so our policy for selling safely with Nested is:
To stay on top of changes to the market, you can subscribe to our Market Pulse tool. Check it out here.
The Nested team have been making improvements to our Market Pulse tool to keep buyers and sellers completely up-to-date about the state of the property market. Since our last update, we've introduced a Market Health Index and local stats so you can see the effect of coronavirus in your area. Check it out here.
Meanwhile, there have been some rumours in estate agency publications that the housing minister Chris Pincher is planning to relax restrictions on the property market.
According to the Nationwide Building Society, house prices surprisingly rose 0.7% in April. Meanwhile, new mortgage levels tumbled to their lowest level in seven years in March according to the Bank of England (BOE).
We have launched the Coronavirus Market Pulse to keep homeowners informed of how Coronavirus is affecting the property market. The tool is free to use and you can subscribe here for weekly updates.
By subscribing, we aim to help you understand when the right time to sell your home is. You will get exclusive access to how property searches on Rightmove and Zoopla have changed since the pandemic was declared on 6th March, as well as whether more home sales collapsing or being withdrawn from the market altogether.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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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