Edwards Estate Agents

Ask the Agent – Buying Advice during COVID-19

May 19th, 2020

Spring is firmly upon us, which typically sees a big peak of buyers viewing properties, negotiating, and moving home. But the coronavirus outbreak—with its quarantine measures and economic uncertainties has many buyers pondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait?

I’m here to give you some guidance and tips through this confusing time.

When it comes to buying a home the question around timings is central to the key decision of should you look for a home right now, or hold off until this crisis blows over?

Read on for some honest answers that will help you decide what to do.

The impact of the coronavirus on the housing market

So what’s the market like at the minute?

Well, it’s probably still a little early to say, however, since the announcement last week there has definitely been a surge in new inquiries.

The major portals recently stated that people going to their website initially dropped by 40% at the start of lockdown, yet now has recovered with a near doubling of people searching for properties with gardens (for both sales and renting).

One of the biggest barriers in April was mortgage lending. In the early days of the pandemic, most mortgage lenders removed many of their best deals and enormously restricted their capacity. Currently though, we are seeing a revitalisation in the mortgage market. Indications show a large number of buyers said that they believe lower-than-average mortgage rates are tempting buyers to shop around anyway.

Those motivated to buy a home, could this be the right opportunity to move forwards. With fewer committed buyers looking, you have less competition.

But remember only 14 properties were put in the market in Stratford last month, so the window of opportunity for buyers won’t stay open wide forever.

Most market commentators believe that the temporary slow down of the housing market will likely be followed by a strong rebound, (the V shape as it’s known)

Although far from certain its possible that this pent-up demand could eventually push houses prices higher. For some people, that means it’s a good time to consider buying sooner rather than later.

How has the industry adapted to keep buyers safe

Although it’s a scary time to be out and about checking out properties, it is still possible to do so and stay relatively safe. The industry has rapidly adapted, introducing approaches that minimize exposure to the virus.

For example, we now working remotely and conducting most of our business virtually.

Both viewings and market appraisals have been carried out remotely either live or by pre-recorded videos. We have sent clients videos of whatever properties they want to see, and are happy use FaceTime from a property

While those with health risks may want to stay home, if you’re otherwise healthy, it is also still possible to see some homes in person providing you follow the government guidelines.

Wearing of PPE equipment will now become the norm. The viewing will also be limited to 15 minutes and all doors will be opened prior to your visit to avoid the need to touch surfaces and door handles.

How to weigh economic concerns

Coronavirus aside, anyone considering buying a home will be thinking is this the right to given the state of the economy. When buying a property you should also take a medium to long term view (3-5 years) to reduce the risk. In the same way you can’t easily time a stock purchase to make a profit, you can’t easily time a home purchase, either.

Recession or not, it’s impossible to time the market, whether for buying stock and shares or buying property.

Just keep in mind that while current market conditions offer an incredible opportunity for buyers to lock in historically low interest rates for a mortgage, rates are actually going up quickly, because so many people are refinancing.

If you wait too long to buy, you may miss the money-saving boat. So make sure to speak to an independant broker first.

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