Despite a difficult end to the first quarter of 2020, activity has already begun to return to the property investment sector. And while transactions may be carrying on at a much slower pace, people and businesses are finding ways around the barriers to keep the market moving.
For many property investors, now is a prime time to continue their property research.
The practicalities of buying and selling properties right now are undoubtedly more challenging than usual. Due to the coronavirus lockdown, many building sites were forced to close, or slow their production down. However, many of these issues are already being resolved. Last week, we reported that a number of building sites were reopening. Since then, more have announced a return to work, meaning the construction sector is back in business.
Virtual viewings were already an option for some buyers, sellers and tenants, but are now more popular than ever. People are getting to grips with new technologies and servers are now faster than ever with the development of the 5G network for mobile phones.
According to Alpa Bhakta, CEO of Butterfield Mortgages, most organisations and investors are already adapting to the new climate.
“Indeed, we have currently been submitting blind cash offers on behalf of key investors we have worked with previously and are negotiating firmly to secure an excellent deal for them”.
She adds that ‘Despite the current situation, Savills‘ five-year projections still show a 15% house price rise by 2024. This is for the UK property market as a whole, and certain locations have even higher forecasts. The north of England and Midlands, for example, are particularly promising locations right now.’
Products are becoming available again for borrowers, and many lenders are now incorporating more online and digital processes, including online mortgage valuations. As such, the market has plenty of options available to those who are keen to secure borrowing.
The UK housing market got off to a strong start in 2020. With Brexit finally at least partly resolved, the “Boris bounce” was truly underway. The mortgage market was more competitive than ever, house prices were strong and rental demand was high. This means the UK property sector was already well-placed to deal with the ensuing coronavirus crisis.
Like Alpa Bhakta, Jan Vecerka, chief executive and founder of BrikkApp believes we can use past evidence to guide future predictions.
“SARS and H1N1 both caused short-term volatility in the real estate market, but the market stabilised within three to six months in each case. Even in disaster scenarios such as the current one, real estate remains relatively stable and will continue to be one of the best places to invest in.”
He reiterates the fact that property remains “one of the safest forms of investment during these difficult times”.
He adds: “Crisis changes things: With every crisis, society shifts to become more productive. This is the same within any industry. Economic crises tend to have long-lasting effects on the way people approach decision-making.”