Coronavirus has already infected more than 340,000 people across the world, with the figures jumping daily. Most accept that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. Meanwhile, millions of people who aren’t directly affected by the illness are going feel the impact in other ways.
The pandemic has loomed in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit debacle. However, since the EU referendum, the good news is that the housing market, though it was affected, remained largely resilient. Places like London felt the effects most keenly, but housing markets in the north and Midlands have performed strongly throughout. In the north-west in particular, investors, buyers and sellers have remained unfazed, with house prices soaring in some areas.
While coronavirus is currently the overarching concern for many, that doesn’t stop UK house prices being a big worry. Whether you own your home, were hoping to get onto the property ladder, are looking at downsizing or even rent, it will affect you.
The verdict right now is that, as you would expect, no one knows how this will affect house prices. The future of the virus’s spread is uncertain, and uncertainty is never good for the market.
However, until very recently, the country’s housing market was at its strongest since before the EU referendum. While it is likely that transactions will slow down, because buying and selling may be difficult to do on a practical level if nothing else, they won’t stop. A short-term house price wobble is expected, but according to Stephen Maunder of Which, this will hopefully be short-lived.
“A rise in the number of people self-isolating could mean fewer properties becoming available, and thus fewer buyers viewing and bidding on homes. In short, more people will be staying put for longer.
Fewer transactions could see house price growth slow right down, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll see any major crash in prices, and – as with Brexit – the market will eventually pick up pace again after a period of uncertainty.”
Last week, the government announced measures to protect the rental market. Landlords can no longer evict tenants from social and private accommodation. Further to this, the government is urging landlords to allow rent breaks if needed. Landlords with buy-to-let mortgages will also be able to apply for payment holidays if necessary.