Since the beginning of lockdown, we have been keeping a close eye on property industry news from leading sources as well as keeping in regular contact with our property developer clients.
It has been clear that from a rather doom and gloom outlook at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown on the impact the virus would have on the UK property market, with statistics such as Zoopla reporting a 90% drop in new sales agreed at the end of April compared to the levels in early March and the rate of sales that fell through peaking on the 23rd March, the day lockdown measures were enforced, we can now see that there is now a cautious air of optimism.
The economy has, of course, seen a significant contraction in Quarter 2. Although the Government has provided financial support to businesses through various loan and employer retention schemes, there will inevitably be several job losses, as recently seen with job cut announcements from large, established companies. This then brings uncertainty and a decrease in consumer confidence. However, we feel that there are many encouraging signs, and the real telltale will be the speed at which the country can bounce back.
The positive news is that the Government have lifted restrictions on viewing properties, and building developers are re-opening their offices and sites. Recent Savills statistics showed a healthy increase in the number of new applicants, not to the levels of last year but back up to 72% of the weekly average seen in the first ten weeks of the year last year. Experts anticipate that there will be a period of short-term higher activity due to the degree of pent up demand during lockdown. Savills surveyed almost 700 hundred prospective buyers and sellers. There were predictably cautious feelings towards moving/selling in the short term, but the survey revealed a greater desire to move within the next 24 months than previously. The desires of potential buyers have also seen a change, perhaps inspired by the restrictions of lockdown, to a desire to move to more spacious countryside settings.
There have been many reports that the new homes market may recover faster because it is easier to perform virtual and socially distanced viewings in new build homes. We feel that this is where CGI and Virtual Reality really come into play. Providing innovative ways that potential buyers can see a property without visiting has certainly become high on the agenda.
According to a recent Savills survey, new build homes have the potential to draw buyers from a greater distance compared to a second-hand home, with new home buyers willing to move 56% further compared to moving to a second-hand property. The survey also reports that key locations such as Bristol, Cambridge and Milton Keynes can attract new build buyers up to two-and-a-half times further.
Trident Marketing offers a bespoke Property Marketing service working directly with developers as well as estate agents. Certainly, from our experience, we are optimistic that the market will recover. Our clients are still selling properties, and there are still buyers out there. However, the importance of attracting the potential buyer with the best possible property marketing has got to be a priority. When the buyer market shrinks, that is the time to increase marketing presence and ensure that buyers choose your product over a competitor.