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Housebuyers still want the personal touch despite the move to remote digital property deals, says North West conveyancing leaders Adkirk Law.
Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at the regional law firm, said: “The market in the region and further afield is busy with some deals still being completed from pre-lockdown and pent-up demand, but the big message from clients is to keep it personal.
“Most purchases are largely handled remotely and efficiently, especially coming through the pandemic, making sure progress is made despite the restrictions.
“Today’s technology provides a platform which allows our clients to manage key documents and verification of identity via a secure portal in the comfort of their own homes. This has been instrumental in our conveyancing process during restrictions.
“We have remained open throughout due to our technology and flexibility for remote working to service our clients and that’s how we will continue to operate. Our clients tell us how they appreciate the communication to make the experience personal.”
Linda said going forward clients appreciate feedback, mobile phone discussions and an ongoing explanation of what is happening to clarify the process during uncertain times.
Those selling a property since mid-May have good reason for refusing to be bartered down - house sales agreed have been up to 54 per cent higher and six per cent up on the same time last year in a recent report by TwentyCI.
Towns in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West dominated a list of the top 10 most in-demand areas compiled by Rightmove, with Wigan, Rochdale, Wilmslow and Scarborough in the top five.
The new-build housing market is helping to lead the property sector back to pre-lockdown levels of activity across the region, according to conveyancing specialist Adkirk Law.
Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at regional law firm Adkirk Law, said: “New build properties offer a 75 per cent loan to value mortgage for those buying on the Help to Buy scheme and those mortgages have still been available even when the lenders changed their criteria in lockdown. We’ve seen plenty of activity in this part of the market.
“We need to see whether this is sustainable through this next period and beyond for the longer term but there is certainly a feeling of confidence currently.”
Linda added: “First-time buyers may still be facing the barriers of access to finance and the flexibility of mortgages available but lenders should see the benefits of being more flexible in these circumstances.
“We need to see a stable market through this time for all concerned and the lenders can help ease the situation for many prospective buyers, particularly younger people, through the coronavirus crisis and beyond.”
Help to Buy is the government scheme designed to help people purchase a new property with just five per cent deposit by way of an equity loan from the government of up to 20 per cent. The aim of this scheme is to increase the supply of new homes in addition to the number of lower deposit mortgages.
For first time buyers, the 75 per cent mortgage for a new build property is an easier route to the housing market, while lenders are reluctant to release standard 95 per cent mortgages.
The property portal Zoopla has reported a surge in the number of people making active enquiries, with demand exceeding lockdown levels, while housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey have said they are seeing ‘more sustained demand.’
The housing market across the region is getting back to business as deals are concluded and new offers are being made, according to conveyancing specialist Adkirk Law.
The reopening of the housing market by the government has brought swift activity as buyers continue the deals they left before the lockdown.
Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at Adkirk Law, said: “We’re now seeing a return to business as normal with buyers happy to conduct viewings within the government guidance and social distancing.
“Where a property is vacant there is no issue and certainly where properties may be occupied it only means the vendor either leaving the property for an hour or distancing as they would in normal circumstances.
“There’s no reason why the sale process can’t pick up for all parties as long as people are sensible but it must be within the guidance and with the safety of everyone in mind at all times.
“Virtual viewings are fine as a way of a first view but don’t replace the feel of a personal viewing and being able to see a property in the wider context of its surroundings.”
Linda added: “There may be more barriers for first time buyers depending on access to finance and the flexibility of mortgage lenders but we hope lenders will see the benefits of being more flexible in these circumstances.”
Both purchase and sales instructions fell in April, according to research from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, indicating an element of pent-up demand in the market that could provide a boost to transactions in the coming months.