As show homes and estate agents re-open, confident that the 373,000 transactions frozen during the COVID crisis can be revived; there is considerable pent up demand for completions to be secured where contracts have been exchanged, and removals no longer subject to delay. Should finances have altered since exchanging, buyers risk losing their deposit if they don’t complete, so it is imperative to take appropriate professional advice.
It is encouraging to hear that lockdown has increased registrations, with record numbers of first time buyers, making up 44% of property enquiries, despite concerns about the UK economy, which, although fundamentally sound, has suffered a significant unplanned multi-billion pound hit, potentially taking it into recession, albeit for a limited period.
As a result, house prices may be marginally affected, so both buyers and sellers will need to be flexible during negotiations. Surveyors will also have to be cautious when assessing for mortgage purposes, avoiding desktop valuations, which can never be wholly accurate and fair, particularly in a changing market.
Many potential buyers will have agreed a mortgage loan, in principle, prior to the COVID crisis, based on their financial circumstances at the time. Even if there has been no change to income and employment, for peace of mind it would be advisable to review options, when some low deposit schemes have been withdrawn.
Whilst low interest rates disadvantage savers, they will contribute to home purchase affordability, especially if earnings are affected due to short-term furlough as employers phase in return to work plans, complying with social distancing and other protection measures.
With a greater focus on quality of life in the wake of lockdown, taking time to review priorities when choosing a home, and its location, will clarify ambitions. For many people, having outside space (and a pet) is now essential when, previously, it was low on the agenda!
‘Virtual’ property viewings are likely to continue for some time, for both new and established, with personal visits subject to careful protective measures. However, do not make the decision to purchase without that visit.
Hopefully, life will return to normal in the coming months, so now is the time to seek guidance on how to take plans for buying a home forward.
Our advisers at the Mortgage Centres are available to examine options best suited to your personal financial circumstances, explaining how to adapt ambitions to change, if necessary.