What effect has lockdown had on first-time buyers?

September 23, 2020 4:14 pm

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As we slowly move out of lockdown and begin to bounce back, the property market has seen a surge in potential buyers. With popular property sites, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, seeing a huge uplift in buyer demand.

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First-time buyers make up a major portion of the property market and before the pandemic took hold, this year’s figures were looking to be at their highest since 2007.

Sadly with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, potential buyers seem to be a bit apprehensive on whether it’s the right time to buy. So what effects has the pandemic caused and what challenges might new buyers face?

The “new” normal

When it comes to viewing a property and communicating with letting agents and sellers, this will need to be done remotely, in order to comply with the government guidelines. Virtual viewings and meetings done on an appointment basis will be preferred. When the time comes to physically view the property, social distancing measures must be followed, as well as frequent handwashing and the use of PPE. This may slow down the process.

Advantages of the “new” normal

One major positive to come out of the pandemic, is the government scrapping stamp duty entirely on properties up to £500,000. If the property is worth £700,000 you will only have to pay stamp duty on £200,000. These savings will make a huge difference when considering all the other fees, such as solicitor fees for buying a house. Solicitors should be chosen carefully and you may wish to consider modern online options such as
https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/conveyancing-quote before settling on a particular company.

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There are also various housing schemes put in place to encourage first time buyers. These range from “Help to Buy”, “Shared Ownership” and some lenders even offering 100% guarantor mortgages. Interest rates have also hit an all-time low which may encourage potential buyers and to get the property market booming again.

It’s unclear what effect coronavirus has had on house prices and whether housing will become more affordable. A recent report completed in May 2020 by Nationwide showed some decrease to the rate of the growth of housing prices.

Even though viewings may take a little longer than usual, there are several reasons to suggest that this could be the best time for first time buyers to purchase their ideal home.