Major agencies report uplifts in business – but physical viewings are not yet in high demand

A week after the government announced that people could start moving home again, figures from Chestertons – one of London’s largest agents – show that buyers, sellers and tenants have been quick to return to the market but all remain understandably cautious about physically viewing properties.

In the seven days following last week’s announcement, Chestertons registered 96% more buyers and brought 94% more properties for sale to the market than the week before.

It also noted a jump in property enquiries, offers and requests for valuations.

Its Lettings department experienced its busiest week since lock-down with tenant activity, which has been creeping back up over the past few weeks, now at near-normal levels.

However, although the market is effectively open, people are still acting cautiously when it comes to physically viewing properties with only around half of new buyers requesting physical viewings and around 70% of tenants using video tours instead of physical viewings before making an offer.

Guy Gittins, Managing Director, commented:

“It is good to see people following government advice and only really viewing properties that they are serious about moving into.

“Most of the viewings we are doing for sales are with people who have done virtual viewings and a lot of research on the property and the area, while many tenants are choosing not to visit properties physically and are happy to make offers off the back of virtual viewings.”

Anyone physically visiting Chestertons’ properties is being asked to adhere to strict guidelines aimed at maintaining social distance, avoiding physical contact and minimising the risk of spreading the virus.

This includes the use of face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and surface wipes.

Occupiers of the properties being viewed are being asked to leave the property while viewings are taking place.

Nationally, Carter Jonas is reporting that sales enquiries in the seven days following the government lifting restrictions on moving house (on the 13th May) were 270% higher than the proceeding week, and 170% higher than the same week in 2019.

Email internet enquiries were up 116%; telephone enquiries up by 72%; and  viewing requests up by 40%.




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  1. JustPlainSavage04

    I haven’t found anyone requesting a virtual viewing.
    Ive been explaining that we are carrying out physical viewings but with appropriate social distancing and PPE.
    All buyers and tenants seem happy and our diaries are busy.
    I think it’s more the agent and how they put it across to the their clients if there is a demand increase in virtual. I.e putting in the advert “virtual viewings available”  
    For me virtual viewings don’t do the job and I always would want someone to have a good look round a property so they can make an informed decision to whether they want to buy or rent the property.  
    Nothing more frustrating than getting it all tied up on the system, then going through the process they ask to view and boom a million a one requests/ questions. Or the second bedroom may be too small, it looked bigger on the virtual viewing etc etc  
    Just do the physical viewing safely and it will safe you a lot of time and hassle.
    Hope you all have a good day and stay safe.

  2. J1

    Virtual Reality viewings compress the viewing to sale ratio which is in everyone’s interests right now.

    Nothing, however, will completely replace a personal viewing.

  3. DASH94

    Virtual viewings are very popular in lettings. I wouldn’t be happy with anyone agreeing to purchase just on the virtual viewing though – that’s just storing up trouble.


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