Coronavirus: The housing market and your home buying options
Share to Buy’s response to COVID-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19) isn’t just affecting big businesses and huge market sectors, it’s having an impact on everything – access to health services, national and international travel, our communities, our favourite local stores, and time spent with loved ones. Our day to day life has been temporarily changed in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined.
However, at this difficult time, it’s important to remember just that – this is temporary.
We hope that you are all adhering to the government’s stay-at-home and social distancing measures and that you are keeping safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.
If you’re a potential buyer looking to get a foot on the housing ladder, or someone who’s trying to sell their home, it’s important to know where you stand. It’s equally encouraging to hear that the housing market isn’t grounding to a halt!
The government recently released guidelines about home moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, including outlines for those who are looking to buy or sell, people who have already bought and are waiting to move, renters, and information about mortgages. You can view the guidelines in full here.
Hear from the experts
Despite current uncertainties in the housing market, industry experts still fully believe they can assist potential purchasers. Check out some of the alternative and innovative ways that the sector is offering their homes and services to buyers.
Jenni Leach, Brand and Strategic Marketing Director for L&Q, says:
“Our teams are still really busy helping customers – on the phone, on email, or on video call. We have developed a bank of virtual tours which give potential purchasers a 360 degree view of L&Q’s homes. We find that most first time buyers are pretty tech savvy, plus, the industry as a whole is quite used to the process of marketing homes off plan, so moving the sales process online feels very natural for our buyers.
For those just browsing, now is a brilliant time to step back, do your research, and really think about the home ownership options available to you. Ask yourself: Where do I want to live? What are my ‘must haves’? Do I understand all the costs of buying a home (not just the deposit and monthly payments, but also costs such as solicitors fees)?
Shared Ownership and Help to Buy can seem complicated – so it’s always a good idea to speak to industry experts, like our sales team at L&Q, to discuss your home ownership options, to help you find the right home.”
Markus Kendall-Young, Head of Sales and Marketing at Catalyst, says:
“In the current climate, we are adapting so that we are able to support first time buyers in every way that we can. Though our marketing suites are temporarily closed to the public, life must go on, and so, now more than ever is the time to really embrace technology. We will be virtually launching our newest Shared Ownership homes at Nova at Queensbury Square on Saturday 25th April. First time buyers that have registered for the launch will be able to view floor plans and price lists digitally, while speaking directly with our Nova sales team over Microsoft Teams.
Our teams are dedicated to helping those at any stage of the home buying journey. Virtual tours are available at many of our developments and we are accepting online reservations for all of our developments. Our expert sales teams are available by phone, email, or Facetime for questions and support.”
Lucy Owen, Partner and Director of Shared Ownership Resales at Direction Law, says:
“Despite the difficulties faced in the current climate, Direction Law are continuing to progress conveyancing transactions in line with government guidance. In particular, New Build purchase transactions are still able to complete due to the fact they are vacant properties (on the whole) and as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to. All in all, we are reassuring our clients that transactions can continue – the housing market isn’t down and out by any means!”
Start your search
While many budding buyers may fear that their home-buying journey has been put on hold indefinitely, this simply isn’t the case. The housing sector is, in fact, working tirelessly to help ensure that the relevant information is still accessible to purchasers, and that processes are being streamlined.
Many of us have suddenly found that we have a lot more free time on our hands and that offers a great opportunity for buyers to do some research into what they want from their future home!
Whether you want to learn more about Shared Ownership and Help to Buy, feel like checking out the kind of homes available in your local area, or need to get your head around the mortgage process – there’s an endless list of resources available.
Search and Enquire
Despite most in-person interactions being halted, we still have thousands of homes listed on Share to Buy, including those available through Shared Ownership, Help to Buy, Intermediate Market Rent and more! This means that you can still search for new build and resale homes, find out everything you need to know about them such as financial requirements and eligibility criteria, and register your interest.
On our portal, you can look for homes based off of your own requirements and needs – this includes property type, number of bedrooms, search radius and deposit amount. Each live property will also offer a budget calculator, outlining the minimum deposit required and monthly costs!
Plus, new properties are still being listed by providers! To keep up to date, you can save your searches and register to receive alerts when new homes are announced by email.
Virtual Tours and Online Viewings
The viewing process is usually a big part of the buying journey, and the fact that in-person appointments have been paused due to rules around social distancing can leave buyers feeling deflated. However, innovation is key here and we’ve already seen a huge increase in housing providers offering online viewings and one-to-one discussions over the phone and video call with interested buyers.
Many providers are also working on, or have already released, virtual tours of their show homes and developments to help you see what’s on offer first hand! You’ll already spot a number of these virtual tours available on property listings across the Share to Buy property portal.
Your next steps
Despite this period of uncertainty, it’s encouraging for buyers and sellers alike to know that the process isn’t coming to a standstill.
Parts of the process (such as mortgage applications and surveys) will be more challenging for the time being but, while progression may be slower than normal, you’re still able to do research and weigh up your home ownership options, search for and enquire about homes, partake in innovative online viewings, speak with sales advisors and move into unoccupied homes. Plus, sellers are still able to advertise homes for sale and rent, and providers are able to consider offers and accept reservations on homes.
The most important thing at the moment is that we all adhere to the government’s guidelines on social distancing and staying at home but this difficult time far from marks the end of your home ownership dream!
Share to Buy is a one stop shop for affordable homes. On our website, you can search for properties, read up on the mortgage process and find out all you need to know about alternative home buying schemes using our FAQs and guides.