MortgageForce managing director Kevin Duffy has called on surveyors to do their bit for the economy and ramp up physical inspections in a quick and safe manner to help clear the estimated £82bn of stalled property transactions.
During the lockdown many surveying firms have furloughed staff and moved to carry out remote inspections in line with government restrictions.
However, those restrictions have now been lifted with the government releasing guidance specifically focussing on those working in others’ homes, including surveyors.
Further changes to lockdown restrictions were also confirmed yesterday making moving home and visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required to rental or sale permissible – thus re-opening the market.
However Duffy, who welcomed the news, has warned brokers that caution is required as some surveyors remain furloughed after firms failed to use the lockdown period to secure suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff.
He said: “The tide may be finally turning, and not before time. However, I’d caution brokers to manage their expectations.
“I’ve spoken to several surveyors this week and many are still on furlough because their firms have been painstakingly slow in ordering their essential PPE provisions.
“I just hope that we are not sat here in three weeks time with many surveyors still not signed off from their Risk Assessment processes and the £82bn worth of log-jammed transactions having hardly seen its dial move.
“It’s time for the profession to do their bit for the economy and the country as many others have now been doing for weeks.”
The £82bn projection comes from figures released last week by property portal Zoopla which estimated that some 373,000 property sales were on hold owing to the coronavirus lockdown.
Colby Short, founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, agreed that an element of caution was required.
He said: “We know that the lockdown brought about an abrupt decline in the number of homes reaching the market and this has led to an underlying current of pent up buyer demand.
“Not all of this demand will convert in the coming months, but now that the doors have reopened those that need to transact out of necessity will do so and this will bring about a level of stability for the wider market.”
Some surveying firms have been quick to return to physical valuations. SDL Surveying has confirmed it will recommence physical valuations immediately.
Other firms are expected to outline their plans in the coming days.