Housing market recovery being ‘killed off’ with viewings down by a half, says national newspaper

The housing market recovery is being “killed off” by the coronavirus outbreak with viewings down 50%.

The claim was made in a report on the front page of yesterday’s Telegraph Business and Money Section.

It said that “thousands of estate agents” have been put at risk as coronavirus chokes off the housing market recovery.

The story quotes Mark Hayward, CEO of the NAEA, as saying that there has been a “marked reduction” in viewings over the last ten days.

He says of agents: “Cash flow is critical. If they have been experiencing a tough time and times toughen even further, there may well be some casualties.”

However, housing analyst Henry Pryor threw off the gloom in a tweet yesterday, saying: “I’ve not witnessed this nor have I heard estate agents mention it. I viewed 19 properties last week. Looks to me like a most unhelpful sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.”

He added: “50% collapse in property viewings apparently . . . I’ve not seen anything like this, have any other agents witnessed this kind of drop off?”

But one agent said that viewings are indeed a concern.

Rhys Williams said: “It’s absolutely relevant and has been mentioned at least once a day to our office.

“It’s entirely irresponsible to assume tenants and vendors are happy with random applicants [traipsing] through their homes. Duty of care.”

Some agents are utilising virtual tour technology. For example, RedDoor Homes in Kent has produced a video tour per property: individual viewings are bookable per time slot just as though they are ‘real’ viewings, with a member of the sales team ‘attending’ each one.

Meanwhile activists group Acorn has launched a petition calling for a rents holiday for tenants ill with the virus or in isolation. The petition, which has attracted over 5,500 signatures, also seeks to have rent arrears in those circumstances not counted in eviction proceedings, and calls for an emergency freeze on all current Section 21 and Section 8 procedures.

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13 Comments

  1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    Interesting… we’ve experienced less viewings and less enquiries, HOWEVER, the fewer viewings that are being carried out seem to be resulting (per viewing) in higher rate of ‘lets’ agreed.  
     
    Could it be that the COVID-19 narrative has reduced the activities of the “window shoppers”/”time wasters”? 
    Quality not quantity…
     
    Have a successful day!  

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    1. JamesDB

      Good Morning Eyereaderturnedposter12

      We too could say the same, less viewings but more productive so far.   Hard to see how long this is going to go on for as we are quite lucky and in East Sussex, which so far only has 1 confirmed case, but equally, we are in a town where the majority of home owners are in their more “senior” years… if this over 70’s lock down comes in to play, that could have a very serious effect on our market locally.

      Anyway – Happy Monday, and I wish you a successful week.

       

      JB

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      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        Good morning JamesDB,

        (**Gently, places tinfoil hat on head**)

        Agreed, this is our experience (so far)…

        Where this narrative takes us, is of far greater concern to me than the perceived threat of any illness.

        IMHO, the apparent impending and swift erosion of our civil liberties (based on what I view, as a flimsy premise), combined with our apparent collective acquiescence, is a far bigger danger to the general populous…The illogical (illogical in the context of the numbers affected) and extraordinary measures being taken by Governments across the world, seems to bear little relation to the reality of the matter, as reported.

        These are extraordinary times, and I sincerely hope that common-sense prevails (sadly, I lack optimism in this respect).

        Thank you and likewise, wishing you a productive week!

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        1. James Wilson

          I think you make fair comments.   But you have to see that this is another generational thing.   The many have to suffer because of the danger to the Baby Boomers.   The Boomers preferred low taxes to investing in enough critical care beds, so now that they face an epidemic life has to stand still for all of us to protect them.   But try suggesting that they invest just 1% of their trillions of ££££s of unearned property gains in the health system and you will be howled down.

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  2. J1

    This will polish off all those agencies that had a poor second half of 2019…

    Many agents especially regional agents with high overheads and poor cash reserves unfortunately will falter.

    Rightmove needs to halve it’s fees today to stand any chance of keeping half of its clients.

    it’s their problem too……..

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    1. purplepatchy

      We had a fairly poor summer which impacted our net profit for the year, we made 70% of our profits for the year within the first six months. Luckily (or through hard work) we’ve had solid months of completions and sales since September so I think we’ll be able to weather the storm. Totally agree with your comments re high overheads / poor sales. Suddenly keeping management charges at 8% and charging £700 sales commission for £200,000 properties whilst maintaining 5 offices doesn’t seem like such prudent business strategy.
      I’ll be interested to see what measures the government puts in place regarding corporation tax / VAT.

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  3. purplepatchy

    We’ve experienced a rush so far this morning. Luckily we’ve built up a solid SSTC pipeline over the last 3 months that will keep us fed for the next 3 months and we’ve hit target for sales for this quarter in 6 weeks BUT this is going to hit and it’s going to hit like a ton of bricks, all I can hope for is that it’s short and sharp rather than painful and drawn out.

    To those fellow business owners out there, my unsolicited advice (that i’m following myself) would be to:

    – Cut any extraneous costs immediately such as non essential marketing, leaflets, new company vehicles, equipment etc

    – Know where you stand with regards to enforced unpaid leave / early holiday for staff

    – Get lines of credit in place before you need them

    – Reduce your drawings to cover your personal overheads and forget about the luxuries for a couple of months

    Most importantly, try and do as much business as possible before the inevitable shutdown, keep as positive as possible and keep your staff motivated.. and wash your hands!

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    1. Property Pundit

      Where do the portals fit in with your plans? Are you ready to classify them as non-essential yet?

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      1. purplepatchy

        It’s a difficult one isn’t it – the return on investment is high and our wage bill is 15x our combined portal cost of OTM, RM and zoopla. Throw in notice periods etc and by the time you can leave you’ll need them again.

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  4. GPL

    Agreed viewings down, better quality.

     

    Our own website delivering viewers directly as we make all the information available there.

     

    Rightmove continues to make the Wrongmove!

     

     

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  5. padymagic

    Anyone looked at PB share price today ?

    0:36p when I checked just now !!!!

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  6. GPL

     

    ……..picture this, if you will.

     

    Theresa May kicking back in her armchair tonight, after a kicking from Boris during the “Oust Theresa” masterplan.

     

    …….meanwhile, Boris …….slumped in a corner, head in his hands …….wondering how that poison chalice could have bitten him so deeply.

     

    Buyer Beware Boris!

     

     

     

     

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  7. GPL

     

    …….and Lord Best?

     

    Take it, Shove it!

     

     

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