How is Scotland’s property market adapting to social distancing measures?
With the new restrictions on daily life imposed by the UK government, several buyers still want to make property purchases despite the uncertainty, according to Edinburgh-based real estate consultant ESPC. Across the country, social distancing measures have been introduced in workplaces, essential shops, supermarkets and even households as the country tries to limit the spread
ESPC says its agents continue to report cases of buyers paying in excess of the Home Report valuation for a house or flat, along with many properties going to closing dates, indicating that buyers are keen to secure property purchases despite the coronavirus pandemic. Jenna Spence, operations director at Neilsons Solicitors and Estate Agents, pointed to several cases of properties across Edinburgh going to closing dates in the last couple of weeks.
She also said they have received multiple offers over the Home Report valuation for properties. In total, Neilsons had ten closing dates for properties last week with 36 offers received. Tzana Webster, sales and marketing manager at Warners LLP, said they have seen similar cases. Last week, ten offers were accepted on their properties, none of which were below Home Report value. The company said a property in Portobello, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh, did particularly well, achieving an offer which surpassed the Home Report value by more than 10%.
Elsewhere, Stacey Wilson, director at VMH Solicitors, noted cases of properties in the last week continuing to receive significant interest from buyers. One of the firm’s properties in Abbeyhill went to a closing date on March 25 and received ‘more than half a dozen offers and achieved a price in excess of 15% over Home Report valuation’. Amy Howard, head of estate agency at Deans properties, said her company had also seen many cases of properties sold at or over Home Report valuation in the last week. “We’ve still got enquiries coming in and our team are actively working from home,” she commented.
Graham White, head of East Lothian Operations and Estate Agency, said he had a case in the last week that achieved an offer 10% over the asking price. “If both parties enter into sensible talks and agree that the process can be carried on with a flexible date of entry then deals can still be done,” he said.
Michael Maloco, a senior partner at Fife-based Maloco + Associates, stated that while there had been a definite fall in market activity over the past week, the firm had set a closing date for a property and had submitted some offers as well.
Meanwhile, Ron Hastings – director at Borders-based Hastings Legal – said: “We have had recent successes with closing dates including a cottage in Ayton on the Berwickshire coast, which attracted multiple offers and a sale well over the Home Report value despite the closing date being set for Tuesday March 24.” ESPC reports that some sellers are still looking to get their homes on the market, with all the above firms listing more properties over the last couple of weeks.
“Sellers seem keen to proceed to market if they have a Home Report, photography and floorplan in place to enable them to do so as they want to take advantage of getting seen,” Spence commented. Due to surveyors not being able to visit properties thanks to the Scottish Government’s strict rules on social distancing, those homes which do not currently have a Home Report
won’t be able to come to market in the present circumstances. Despite this, ESPC said its agents are proactively preparing these properties so that when the current restrictions are lifted they can be brought to market as quickly as possible.
Similarly, while in-person viewings are currently unavailable, many ESPC agents have adapted to this by offering virtual viewings so that buyers can still be ‘walked through’ a property wherever possible. Additionally, buyers can request the Home Report, as well as viewing the schedule and the images online from the comfort of their own home. What’s more, many agents are providing free virtual valuations so that those thinking of selling their home can get started on the home selling journey. Deans Properties, for examples, has had several requests for these in the last week.
“These are uncertain times, and it is likely there will be a dip in property transaction volumes over the next little while as people adjust to the new restrictions on their lives,” Paul Hilton, chief executive officer of ESPC, said. “However, evidence from our agents suggests that there is still an appetite from buyers to secure properties in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.”
He added: “Similarly, sellers that are able to are proceeding to put their property on the market, with less competition perhaps helping them to get their property seen by engaged buyers.”
“ESPC agents have already adapted to the current circumstances very well. From offering virtual viewings and valuations, to simply providing expert advice over the phone and email, ESPC and our agents are here to help property buyers and sellers through this unprecedented situation,” he concluded.
Last week, the UK government issued definitive guidance on home moving and the activities of estate agents during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which applies to Scotland as well.
This article from The Scottish Sun explains how Scottish buyers and sellers will be affected during the coronavirus lockdown.