It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed every area of life. Since the first lockdown started on 26th March 2020, the way that we do everything has altered, from shopping, going to work, visiting family, going on holiday, and of course the buying and selling of property.
Non-essential businesses had to close or change the way they traded, staff were furloughed and those who had to work from home had to learn a new way of doing things.
How was the property market affected at the start of the pandemic?
When the first lockdown began, the government urged all buyers and sellers to delay home moves and not to allow property viewings. This essentially meant that the property market was on hold until stay-at-home restrictions could be lifted.
At this time, TLS were already set up in the cloud, and staff were able to use remote software to work from home. Even though no face-to-face meetings with clients were allowed, we were able to maintain client relations, by way of phone, email, or video calls.
What happened when the first lockdown was lifted?
With a huge sigh of relief, the property market was officially reopened on May 13th, 2020. This was a very busy time for all involved. Staff were allowed to return to the office if official guidelines were followed.
For legal services, this means:
- all law firms and organisations should allow their staff to work from home if they can do so effectively.
- if essential staff members are required in the office, then the firm must make sure its a COVID-19 secure workplace.
- if a staff member or anyone in their household currently has symptoms of coronavirus, they must not go to work.
As 2020 developed, conveyancers experienced a huge growth in demand and case load, fuelled by the SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) holiday which had been brought into effect by the government in July. This caused tremendous pressures for conveyancing staff, who were working above and beyond to keep up with demand.
How were property viewings affected?
Viewings were initially carried out virtually, and physical viewings were subject to strict guidance, such as:
- Viewings by appointment only,
- Number of people per viewing restricted,
- Observing social distancing,
- Washing hands and using hand sanitiser,
- Potential buyers/sellers/tenants and agents should wear face masks,
- Opening windows and doors for the duration,
- Surface cleaning upon completion.
What has been happening since in the conveyancing world?
Even though many restrictions have been eased in the UK, technically we are still in the third lockdown. This was set to end on June 21st 2021, according to the Government’s ‘Roadmap out of lockdown’. It has now been delayed until the 19th of July.
Over a year since the lifting of the first lockdown, house prices are still surging. Lockdown created a rise in demand for properties, in part due to many people needing to re-assess their housing situation and downsize.
On top of this, the temporary cutting of Stamp Duty Land Tax from last July (2020) has also enabled property buyers to save up to £15,000. Consequently, property sales have risen and so have prices.
According to the UK House Price Index, 16 June 2021, the average price of a property in the UK rose by 8.9% year-on-year in April to reach £250,772.
So, has the UK property market successfully survived the Covid-19 pandemic so far?
It seems set to stay a seller’s market, at least for the near future. The rise in demand of properties to buy has not been met with an equal rise in supply. House prices are currently rising by nearly 9% year on year.
This growth could be slowed by the tapering of Stamp Duty Land Tax until the end of September 2021.
Uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is also sure to remain, given that we have seen several changes to the way we live since the first lockdown.
For now, though, the UK property market remains steady.
What are TLS Solicitors doing to ensure stability for its clients?
We have recently added the contactless conveyancing app to our range of legal services.
This handy tool means that you can log in to your TLS account at any time 365 days of the year.
Access your file and receive instant live case updates straight to your mobile phone! Keep track of progress by viewing each step in the process. This will save you unnecessary time spent on phone calls and emails.
Why choose TLS Solicitors?
TLS Solicitors Cornwall and London offer decades of legal experience with a fresh approach.
Our experienced and approachable solicitors in Cornwall and London pride themselves on excellent client communications and on keeping the legal process as simple, efficient, and cost-effective as possible.
With 100% Client Approval Rate and offices based in London and Cornwall, we can service your needs.
Contact us today to book your consultation!
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