Buyer demand goes from strength to strength during lockdown

Whilst the progression of sales may understandably slow down during the latest COVID-19 lockdown, houses are still selling like hot cakes in and around Chichester.

This is because demand from buyers is still going strong – and it has been increasing dramatically since the measures of ‘Lockdown 1’ were eased in early summer last year. Research by property portal Zoopla saw demand surge a huge 88% shortly after the housing market reopened, and by ‘Lockdown 2’ in November, it surged 49% higher year-on-year across England during the first six days, according to the House Price Index.

As we enter a new year and another lockdown, there are no signs that buyer demand is easing off at all – especially given the property market is open during this time. I am experiencing one of the busiest winters I have ever encountered, with more buyers looking at purchasing a larger family home or wishing to downsize to a more compact property with little maintenance, settling in a more rural setting or coastal area. My clients have been making offers left right and centre during the pandemic, with almost all of these deals happening off-market, and selling within days.

So what is fuelling this ongoing mini-boom?

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed people’s mindsets; not just for now but for the long-term too. They’re re-evaluating what they want in life, and where they want to be. People want to be able to spend more time outdoors at home now. They want more space, a better and more wholesome lifestyle, and ideally somewhere where they can set up a home office environment. The five-day commute into London has become less of a necessity, with working from home far more acceptable with companies offering flexibility.

Understandably, some sellers are nervous about letting the whole world into their homes at the moment, mostly for shielding reasons, or wanting to wait until they’ve had their injections. It’s therefore become quite common for sellers to only allow serious buyers in. As a buying agent, we always vet our clients before starting the sales process, which has proved invaluable at helping viewings proceed with sellers. We are also able to find those country gems that aren’t publicly for sale, our contacts range from estate agents to solicitors and interior designers, and given we do all the initial viewings ourselves; we add that extra socially-distanced safety for buyers too.

However, just like with the beginning of 2020, we are seeing a shortage of properties for sale. Buyers may need to consider this when securing a home as prices will remain vigorous, due to the demand of city-livers flocking to the attractively rural appeal of Chichester. Purchasing something with the long term in mind is the result of the lockdown housing market. People are committed to paying a premium now for good countryside houses. If you stay at your home for ten years for example, what’s another 5-10% of the purchase price? You risk being gazumped by another buyer unfortunately if you go in at too low an offer.

For more information about buying a home in and around Chichester, please do get in touch with me, Jennifer Hancock, on +44 7776452128 or jh@propertyacquisitions.co.uk.