A leading industry figure has claimed that local lockdown are already beginning to quieten down local housing markets as huge swathes of the population in England and Wales are significantly restricted under the government’s three-tier system.
“For the time being, the market looks set to remain busy, but we are seeing some early signs that local lockdowns are suppressing activity levels, particularly in some parts of the UK where it is not possible to leave your current home, let alone view somebody else’s,” says Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington.
This includes Wales, which has implemented a partial housing market lockdown including viewings and other face-to-face activity banned for two weeks as its government implements a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.
Hopper is also worried that agents have become de-coupled from the wider economy as the housing boom largely continues, albeit at lower levels than in July and August.
“The lockdowns in England are causing confusion and suppressing activity because even if you’re an active buyer and want to view properties, buyers may not allow you inside their homes, and vice-versa, so there is an inevitable stepping of the gas pedal – but we’re some way off the market cooling dramatically.”
But Hopper is also worried that some agents seem to be ‘de-coupled’ from economic reality at the moment, and that “we’ve seemingly entered a parallel universe where the activity in estate agents’ windows bears no resemblance to the wider economic situation,” he says.
He says agents are responding to demand, but that this is being created by pent-up lifestyle requirements rather than economic reality.
“I realise these comments aren’t popular with some agents who don’t want to talk the market down – but I think we need to start having a discussion about what happens when the boom ends,” he says.