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Spicerhaart: Demand will still be there when lockdown ends

The effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the property market were already being felt at in March but demand remains for when lockdown ends, according to Neil Knight, business development director at SpicerHaart Part-Exchange. 

Commenting on HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) latest UK Property Transaction Statistics report Knight said: “The March property market was a ‘game of two halves’.

“Lockdown restrictions came into force towards the end of the month, but the impact of coronavirus was already starting to filter through before that, putting a damper on the recovery that had been building over the last three months.

“The result is that residential transactions have remained broadly stable – a slight drop of 0.2% from the previous month, and still 0.3% higher than in March 2019.”

However, even in the face of an impending health and financial crisis, the statistics showed clear demand that, if the economic impact is managed correctly, could make for a good starting point once lockdown ends and business resumes.

Knight said: “The true impact of COVID-19 will show up in April’s figures, but what seems clear is that there is still strong demand out there.

“With the measures the government has put in place to keep the economy ticking over, much of that will still be there once the restrictions are lifted.

“In the meantime, there are still transactions happening, and the industry is quickly adapting to new ways of working, helping as many people as possible make their dream move in spite of the current nightmare circumstances.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, added that those businesses that emerge unscathed, with the help of government assistance, would hopefully stimulate growth in non-residential transactions.

He said: “The fall in non-residential transactions indicates a lack of confidence in commercial and retail, again likely linked to coronavirus.

“Businesses have been hit hard, although they may come through with government assistance, but inevitably some will falter.

“We can see from the historic charts that rises and falls in transactions correlate to global economic factors, which will certainly be the case over the next few months.

“Hopefully, with government intervention over stamp duty, we could see a spike in transactions towards the end of this year and into next.”

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