Buyers and tenants undeterred by second lockdown, says Chestertons

The housing market in London has so far escaped the second lockdown announcement unscathed, with buyer and tenant activity somewhat stable, according to Chestertons.

Looking at internal data from the three days after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown for England to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for the NHS, the company reports that the housing market in London has so far not been immediately affected as buyer and tenant activity remains strong.

Chestertons’ data reveals that between Sunday and Tuesday, potential purchasers did 10% more viewings and made roughly the same number of offers as the week previously, although the number of new buyers registering did drop slightly by 4%. There were also no instances of buyers pulling out of existing deals.

Chestertons’ MD Guy Gittins commented: “There is certainly a lot less panic in the market than there was in March through to May, and people seem quite prepared to continue with their plans to move, despite the lockdown.

“People continue to be incentivised by the need for a larger home, the potential stamp duty savings and the belief that the market is currently offering relatively good value.

“We are obviously relieved that the government recognises the importance of a healthy property market to the wider economy and has allowed agents to continue to operate. We have seen a phenomenally strong market over the summer and into the autumn and still believe that this will continue into the spring next year.”

Meanwhile in lettings, it was landlords that reacted the most, with 40% more landlords deciding to reduce their asking rent compared to the same time last week.

The number of new tenants registering remained strong, as did the number of viewings carried out, which was actually double the number compared to the corresponding period last year.

Richard Davies, the firm’s head of lettings, said: “Generally, we see a dramatic drop in viewings in November, but this year is different and we are still doing a similar number of viewings as we were during the height of the market in summer. The people viewing now are mainly tenants already in rented accommodation in London but seeking a better deal than they currently have.

“The fact that there are plenty of tenants looking is good news for landlords, but with nearly twice as many rental properties available on the market compared to last year, there is a lot of competition and tenants will only enquire about properties which are competitively priced.”

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