As we continue our working from home, furlough, or similar working arrangements, you may expect that moving house would be the last thing on the British publics minds – but not necessarily so.
Rightmove initially reported a drop off of 40% in relation to traffic to their website, as we initially entered into lockdown. However, over time, visits to the site have increased, and are just 20% below average levels of internet traffic.
Here at Kingsley, we have spoken to a number of Sales Directors in the past week, all of whom have reported relatively positive signs, with one major house builder reporting an increase in sales calls and enquiries.
Whilst Show-homes remain closed and with no face to face viewings being allowed, house builders are reliant upon their online presence and telephone calls. Potential purchasers considering buying a new home have more time to carry out their research online, making the most of 3-D walk-throughs and other tools available to tech savvy residential developers.
Prior to entering lockdown, the market was particularly buoyant, with sales agreed in the year to March 23rd up by 11% compared to the same period last year. Housebuilders will be hoping that confidence returns quickly, boosted by low deposits and interest rates at an all time low.
During our conversations this week we have been able to conclude the following;
Reservations – on average each house builder is securing an average of 2 reservations per week, this of course is very low in comparison to usual levels, but these are not usual times.
Cancellations – Some purchasers are cancelling, mainly those who are concerned about job security, however the level of cancellations is far below anticipated levels.
First Time Buyer – The FTB market is still strong and is still being heavily driven by the last few months of Help to Buy with Key workers in particular, making serious enquiries.
Help to Buy – With this incentive (in its current format) ending soon the impact of the help to buy scheme remains unknown, however with most housebuilders lobbying for its extension due to the inevitable extension of build programmes it will be interesting to see.
Reductions – House builders are not offering significant reductions in prices…… yet. However, incentives are already available and are likely to be more prevalent.