Thanks to the general election in December, the property market benefited from a boost. In February, residential property prices increased for the fourth month in a row. The so-called “Boris bounce” pushed the average cost up to £312,625, according to Rightmove. However, due to the pandemic of the coronavirus, the future looks uncertain.
According to the property website, prices are up 3.5 per cent year-on-year. This is all thanks to a major rebound in the market since the Conservatives won the election at the end of 2019. COVID-19, however, could pose a risk to this growth if it knocks the confidence of buyers.
Colby Short, CEO at estate agency comparison website GetAgent.co.uk, said: “These are great numbers from Rightmove in respect of asking price highs and a significant reduction in the time taken to sell, particularly in the capital. But hold on, this is data collected only up until 7th March – and to say that a week is a long time in politics is nothing compared to a week where the CoronaVirus news cycle is concerned.
“The year has started strongly for property and we all realise that the current crisis of health will be temporary, don’t we? But the question is, how temporary? And will a property market that had sprung from the doldrums of political paralysis weather a viral rival? I think so, but it will be challenging indeed for a while still.”
We are seeing an increase in signs that the disruption of the virus is making its way to the property industry. But London-based estate agency Benham & Reeves is urging buyers and sellers to “remain optimistic”.
Marc von Grundherr, director at Benham and Reeves, commented: “Covid-19 is, of course, a significant issue albeit that enquiry levels and viewings do seem to be holding up for now and we should remain optimistic, firstly for a swift resolution to the pandemic, followed by a robust response from the markets including property which is clearly well placed to withstand current uncertainty.”
It is unclear to see how the virus will affect the housing market, as the length of the outbreak could continue to cause a stir.
Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax, said: “The UK housing market has remained steady heading into early spring.
“The sustained level of buyer and seller activity is strong compared to recent years, with positive employment conditions and a competitive mortgage market continuing to support demand.”
However, Galley noted that it is a waiting game to ultimately see how the housing market will be impacted by the coronavirus.
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