Majority of homebuyers and sellers undeterred by lockdown

Majority of homebuyers and sellers undeterred by lockdown but physical viewings a concern

The latest research by lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has revealed that 81% of homebuyers and sellers are undeterred by lockdown number three.

Benham and Reeves surveyed over 10,000 homebuyers and sellers about their feelings towards yet another lockdown, its impact on their decision to buy or sell and how they felt about the viewing process while Covid remains a high-level threat.

Has another national lockdown deterred you from buying or selling a property this year?

A third national lockdown has deterred just 14% of buyers and sellers from a purchase or sale in 2021, with 81% planning to carry on as they planned.

In London, 18% stated they would now put their plans on hold, the highest of any region, while buyers and sellers in the North East were the least deterred with just 11% choosing not to transact this year.

Are you already in the process of buying or selling and considering pulling out or delaying until lockdown is lifted?

Just 4% of those already in the process of selling or buying are putting their transaction on ice until the current lockdown has ended, while 91% of those will carry on no doubt spurred by the current stamp duty holiday.

Again, London is home to the highest percentage of those deciding to pull out or delay a sale or purchase (6%), while 96% of buyers and sellers in the North East are undeterred.

Do you feel safe attending or hosting a physical viewing while lockdown is in place?

While many remain keen to transact, the physical viewings process does pose a concern for the majority. 50% of those asked, stated they didn’t feel safe hosting or attending a viewing while 41% did and 9% preferred not to say.

Attending or hosting a viewing was the biggest concern in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the West Midlands, while those in the North East and East of England felt the safest about it.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“Homebuyers and sellers remain largely undeterred about transacting despite yet another dose of lockdown restrictions and this is no doubt due to the dangling carrot of a stamp duty holiday that remains in place until March, at the very least.

Understandably, physical viewings pose a greater concern although the industry remains well-positioned to carry out all stages of the transaction process in a safe and appropriate manner.

For those that are worried, there are things you can do to put your mind at rest. All agents should be sending you their Covid protocols anyway but be sure to request this if not. It will outline exactly what they are doing to keep you safe.

During the viewing process itself, your agent should arrive with the appropriate level of PPE and be sure to request the same of the buyer or seller. Only view with the minimum amount of people. Two is really enough in many circumstances.

You can also request that windows and doors are opened before arrival if viewing and that the agent or seller opens all cupboards, draws, even the oven, to help avoid any unnecessary contact with these surfaces.

As a seller, it’s perfectly acceptable to request a quicker than normal viewing, particularly if it’s the first viewing. You may also stipulate that some rooms are only viewed from the door or even through the window if you do have concerns about a viewer entering them.

Any agent worth their salt will have their house in order where Covid compliancy is concerned. We’ve spent a great deal of time, money and effort to ensure we operate above and beyond the government guidelines as the safety of our clients is paramount. But for those that are still unsure, we also offer the option of video viewings, as we have done for our international clients for the last five years. So while some agents may find it a shock to adapt, we’ve managed to take it in our stride and it’s business as usual as we keep the wheels moving for your sellers and landlords.

Of course, anyone that has had contact or is showing signs of the virus should cancel all viewings immediately and let your agent know. Anyone in vulnerable circumstances should refrain from attending or hosting viewings at all.

Survey of 10,235 UK homebuyers and sellers carried out by Find Out How (January 7th 2021). Note – Find Out How includes all responses from the Yorkshire and Humber region within the North East classification.

Q1. Has another national lockdown deterred you from buying or selling a property this year?
Answer Total %
No 81%
Yes 14%
Prefer not to say 5%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
Q1. Has another national lockdown deterred you from buying or selling a property this year?
Region No Yes Prefer not to say
East Midlands 82% 12% 6%
East Of England 82% 14% 4%
Greater London 76% 18% 7%
North East 85% 11% 4%
North West 81% 14% 5%
Northern Ireland 82% 14% 4%
Scotland 79% 17% 5%
The South East 81% 13% 6%
The South West 83% 13% 4%
Wales 79% 16% 5%
West Midlands 82% 14% 4%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
Q2. Are you already in the process of buying or selling and considering pulling out or delaying until the lockdown is lifted?
Answer Total %
No 91%
Yes 4%
Prefer not to say 4%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
Q2. Are you already in the process of buying or selling and considering pulling out or delaying until the lockdown is lifted?
Region No Yes Prefer not to say
East Midlands 91% 4% 5%
East Of England 91% 5% 4%
Greater London 90% 6% 4%
North East 96% 2% 2%
North West 90% 6% 5%
Northern Ireland 92% 4% 4%
Scotland 94% 3% 3%
The South East 92% 3% 5%
The South West 92% 5% 3%
Wales 89% 6% 4%
West Midlands 91% 5% 4%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
Q3. Are you already in the process of buying or selling and considering pulling out or delaying until the lockdown is lifted?
Answer Total %
No 50%
Yes 41%
Prefer not to say 9%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
Q3. Do you feel safe attending or hosting physical viewings while lockdown is in place?
Region No Yes Prefer not to say
East Midlands 48% 41% 11%
East Of England 49% 44% 7%
Greater London 51% 40% 9%
North East 44% 47% 9%
North West 49% 42% 9%
Northern Ireland 65% 29% 5%
Scotland 57% 34% 9%
The South East 47% 41% 12%
The South West 51% 43% 6%
Wales 49% 43% 8%
West Midlands 53% 38% 9%
Sample size of 10,235 UK home buyers and sellers
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About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from eighteen prominently located branches and five international offices.

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