Covid-19 Property Market Review in early April by Michael Chandler

7th April 2020
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Hello everyone, I sincerely hope you are all safe and well in these testing times and everyone is staying at home. We have been a bit quiet lately on social media due to the aftershocks of the lockdown, so I thought I would give an update based on my personal opinion of what is happening and what I believe lies ahead for the property industry in NI.

What we are up to as a business:

We are still open for business albeit remotely, believe it or not, through sheer drive and perseverance are still completing sales and even agreed a house for sale yesterday which was really something!  Our rental department is still going strong dealing with all enquires and yesterday we let a house in Co.Down on a long term basis whilst exercising specific social distancing measures. We are helping our front line workers secure accommodation so they can protect their families and have some amazing landlords offering their empty properties for free or a greatly reduced rate. As the saying goes we are all in this together.

Our mortgage department is still very busy trading with a full team, we are receiving lots of requests for life insurance and income protection from people who are now realising just how important it is. Existing clients are renewing their mortgages and are availing of the very low interest rates whilst new mortgages applications are impossible due to the closure of Land Registry, however there is growing pressure to get this vital department up and running again which is great.

Where is the market headed?:

This is the big question everyone wants to know and no-one could possibly have the answer for right now however I have my own opinion and thankfully the economist from released a statement yesterday which confirmed my thoughts. My personal opinion is that the Northern Ireland property market will perform a “U” shaped early dip when things start to return due to uncertainty and people holding off, but will return very quickly and possibly surpass where we left off, the reason for this I believe  is that so many people were resisting putting their houses on the market or buying until Brexit had cleared and the NI Government were back in action. In the weeks before Covid-19 hit we were saying strong performances in every department and we were just coming out of the winter months. These people have not gone away, they still want to buy their first home, move to a bigger home or build the home of their dreams. This crisis is not like 2008 where the banks were in trouble, from listening to the lenders we work with and the Bank of England there is still a great appetite to keep things moving, and to lend on property. There are never seen before mortgage deals available that makes buying much cheaper than renting.

What if I am agreed on a house at the moment?:

This is the most common and hard to answer question at the moment. Purchasers have been advised by their solicitor that things are on hold or not to proceed, the main reason for his is government departments like Land Registry being closed which is simply not good enough in my opinion. Every other business is doing what they can to look after their clients and interests so I don’t see why they can cannot make similar arrangements. I have been assured by members of parliament they are doing their best to get this open again in a few weeks which is positive news. So my personal opinion on those currently sale agreed as we stand would be the following: If you are agreed on your dream home and are buying it with a medium to long term focus I would stand on and buy it, however if I was agreed on a property for a short term investment where I intended to try and make a profit I would be more than cautious as the above “U” shaped property curve could scupper your plans. Please note this is just my opinion based on how things look as we approach Easter. If anyone would like me to discuss their personal sale or situation please do not hesitate to get intouch and I will do my best to help.

The future:

Taking into account all the above, I truly believe that if we can all stay at home and do what we can whilst staying safe we can get through this together. It is not going to be easy, and it will go down in history as a time of hardship and struggle and worse in some families circumstances unfortunately. I know at Michael Chandler Estate Agents & Mortgages we are determined to come back stronger and help people achieve their property dreams again as soon as possible.

Stay safe and stay home.


#stayhomesavelives #propertymarketNI  #inthistogether  #lockdowneffect

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