Post lockdown conditions have created a perfect time to buy a property

27 May 2020 | Simon Nosworthy

A short-term drop in housing prices caused by Covid-19 and the existing low cost of borrowing have created the ‘perfect time to buy a property’, according to a conveyancing expert.

The housing market has reopened after being put on hold from mid-March as part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus, leading to a 15-year low in property transactions.

Property experts are also predicting prices will drop between 5% and 10%.

But despite the apparently gloomy picture, Simon Nosworthy, Head of Residential Property at Osbornes Law, believes now could be a good time for buyers to purchase a property.

Simon said: “Ultimately conditions for the property market are still good. We had a lot of people who were waiting for the Brexit result before making their move and after the result we were starting to see a lot more people coming into the market before the pandemic then took hold.

“The fact is that there are still a lot of people who will be in a position to buy and there could not be a much better time. Cheap borrowing is available and the government needs the property market to work as a driver of the economy.

“At the same time, we are seeing vendors agreeing to drop the price for their property by around 5% to 10% on deals agreed before the pandemic.. It is an ideal scenario for first-time buyers or people who were waiting to buy to pick up some potential bargains. Of course, on the flip side it isn’t a great time to be selling a property as it is very much a buyers’ market right now.”

Transactions in England have been kick-started once more, with people now able to visit estate agents and undertake physical property viewings, subject to government guidance.

Simon said that although there was a chance property prices could crash, the demand for housing and the lack of supply makes this less likely but people should engage with the market quickly to secure a chance of getting the best possible price for a property.

He said: “While there is a risk of a lasting dip in the housing market there is still a supply and demand issue that should ensure the market bounces back and that prices will in due course raise again.

“Once a transaction is agreed, the main differences that people might see right now when dealing with their conveyancer is that it is less likely that they will have a face to face meeting with their lawyer and instead any meeting will be conducted by video call. There is also a chance that obtaining a mortgage offer, or a local authority search might take a little longer whilst companies and local authorities observe social distancing rules. However, most property lawyers remain committed to dealing with a transaction as swiftly as possible and at Osbornes Law we have done our best even during the lockdown to allow transactions to proceed to exchange and complete where is it was safe to do so.”

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