Prior to the Covid-19 forced lockdown, we had seen the housing market going from strength to strength, with house prices rising by 0.8% in March according to Nationwide, which was the largest monthly increase since early 2018 and resulted in the prices increasing by 3% compared to March 2019.

If you had your property on the market before lockdown commenced on 20th March 2020, or you had planned to put your property on the market this spring or summer, then you are likely to be questioning whether you should hold off until next year.

The Financial Times state that ’experts predict transactions will fall by 60 per cent or more in the three months to June, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicting sales to drop to the lowest level seen in 20 years’. With the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government clear guidance to those buying or selling, essentially stating that if you’re in a position to delay the purchase of your property then you should, it is very hard to see anything but a fall.

The bigger question is what will happen going forward when Estate Agents can open again. According to Zoopla the Covid-19 lockdown has put £82 billion of home sales on hold. Since then many people involved in these purchases will likely have been subjected to a reduction in incomes and will be facing the tough decision of whether to proceed or not.

We have never experienced this before as a country, let alone planet! However, as we are all in the same boat here the market is likely to be more understanding that the process may be taking longer than the industry standard.

For many potential buyers, the question is whether you will be able to obtain a mortgage, with many lenders having to make significant changes. Rightmove believe that it will take the following to kick-start the market again once lockdown is eased:

  • Continuation of mortgage lending on the same terms as before the lockdown, aided by government incentives to encourage moving as a key part of the economic recovery.
  • Forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover.
  • Social distancing measures may still be needed for some time to come, so safe viewing procedures will require innovation by the property industry.

Yes, the mortgage market did have to take significant measures to ensure responsible lending. Nonetheless, we are seeing lenders changing their criteria on a daily basis. More and more lenders are now accepting automated valuation, providing products at higher loan-to-values that allow first time buyers or people with smaller deposits to proceed. Not only this, but lenders are looking forwards with the understanding that a drop in our incomes now does not represent a trend going forwards. With the Bank of England base rate being 0.1%, the lowest ever level recorded in the history of the Bank, we are finding some of the rates are exceptionally low.

Now more than ever it is important to talk to an adviser who can help you understand your options in a rapidly changing market. If you have any questions just get in touch via email or phone. info@windsorhillmortgages.co.uk or 01225 962456.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.