News Release October 2020
- What has happened since March 2020 and the Lockdown?
Estate Agents and Letting Agents were initially locked down along with most other businesses which were not “ essential services”. Property Management however, was subsequently considered an essential service and so we re-opened immediately when this became clear and maintained a skeleton crew to look after the day to day needs of our customers.
Marketing property was restricted to serving essential workers only and so in real terms, Estate Agents were limited to attending this group only. Of course, Estate Agents were working hard to maintain the deals which were active at the commencement of the lockdown. This hard work lead to around 80% of the property which was in negotiation at the start of Lockdown, proceeding to signed contracts which amazed all concerned. Solicitors and surveyors were key to this success as they too were sent home during this difficult period.
Running our business with restricted staffing and restricted sub-contractors was extremely difficult with many people concerned, either affected with CV or shielding, or just not wanting to take unnecessary risks. So we had to nurture our resources carefully. If you remember, even Toilet rolls and cleaning materials were in short supply. PPE couldn’t be found anywhere and it was generally, a very harsh trading environment while most others were furloughed at home.
- What has happened since June?
In June, the Nation was unlocked and this allowed some businesses to open in a progressive format. Retail got back to work rapidly, although with great caution. General business followed later but many companies maintained their furloughs and so some workers have never actually returned to their places of work.
Estate Agents were immediately busy with the back-log of transactions and with those who would have normally moved between March and September – traditionally the busiest time of the year. So after this long delay, it wasn’t surprising that we were all very busy. Then the Chancellor introduced the Stamp Duty holiday upon transactions up to £500,000 which further stimulated the whole housing market. This short window of opportunity, just shows, the huge effect, that Stamp Duty has on the housing market.
It remains to be seen, how the commercial property market behaves. Thousands of Businesses, have yet to re-open their offices, with many staff working from home. There remains the problem for them, to make their working environments “ safe “.
Large Retailers have been criticised for only focussing on profits and many are looking at rationalising their exposure in the High Street, and concentrating more, towards on-line sales. We have ourselves to blame for this move, by shopping too much in shopping Centres and On- Line, rather than in our local Towns. So it will be interesting to see whether small Retail bounces back in local Town centres.
We remain busy with commercial enquiries albeit, Tenants are more cautious about committing to long Leases of 10 years or more.
- The immediate Future?
Residential Property Sales and Lettings will remain busy until the Stamp duty window closes early next year. Then, there is a risk that should mass redundancies occur this Autumn, the current demand will be governed by the percentage of people who lose their jobs. ( If you have uncertain employment, are you going to move home?).
Retail will depend on the shopping trends of local people. So shop locally if you can.
Leisure now called hospitality, has been very badly affected by safety provisions and demand for these units is limited.
There remains good demand for small, light- industrial -units for modern manufacturing which will become very important after the Brexit- Exit!
Whether you own a House, Flat, Shop, Office or Warehouse, and you are planning a let or sale please give us call. The Consultancy is free.