James Pendleton: Property market bottleneck will cause the sale of the century once lockdown is lifted
The property market freeze has caused an unprecedented bottleneck for both buyers and sellers, but latent demand will result in a surge in transactions when the COVID-19 crisis ends, according to Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton.
Commenting on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) house price figures, Pendleton said: “Get ready for the sale of the century.
“Buyers and sellers have never been funnelled into a bottleneck like this in history and it’s too early to write this year’s market off as a dud.
“COVID-19 has created a build up of pressure that could make the Boris Bounce look like a pea shooter.
“This property market freeze is like nothing experienced by anyone alive, but we’re still seeing tremendous numbers of people who can’t wait to go house hunting, registering for viewings once this is over.”
On the subject of concerns about the long-term negative effect of current economic uncertainty, Pendleton added that it might in fact make for an unusually busy year for transactions.
She said: “There was talk earlier this week of a 38% collapse in transactions this year. That could be premature.
“There are several reasons for this. First, what’s happening has nothing to do with affordability or prices.
“Secondly, many people have waited patiently for Brexit to pass, only to have their moving plans blindsided by a global pandemic.
“It’s been a double whammy and some households have now been waiting years to move.
“We’re expecting buyers and sellers to be stampeding back to the table at the earliest opportunity.
“The property industry is also not like the travel industry.
“Whereas holidaymakers may miss trips and not take an extra holiday later this year to make up for it, buyers and sellers commit in their minds to making one transaction when they can.
“This all makes an early stampede followed by a very busy summer during the normally quiet months of July and August much more likely.”
The ONS figures showed house prices rising year-on-year, but have yet to analyse data from the point in the year when the COVID-19 crisis took full effect.
For many, this means there may be more negative ramifications yet to be seen as the figures continue to emerge in the coming months.
However, this may not be the case, said Pendleton: “When the lockdown ends, prices are unlikely to be much changed on early February’s valuations.
“We already plan to use open house viewings to cope with demand for consultants’ time and sealed bids could be commonplace.”