Estate agencies have told The Bank of England that they believe there is a 30% probability that the Coronavirus crisis will have a large and negative impact on turnover this year, despite warnings elsewhere that industry is likely to shut down until at least June.
Published within the bank’s quarterly economic report, the property industry is below the average of 40% across all industries and much less than the accommodation and food sector, where companies say there is a 60% chance their revenues will be impacted severely by the crisis.
The Bank of England says its contacts reported that the economic uncertainty as a result of the pandemic had deterred buyers and sellers, bringing transactions to a halt.
“There were also reports that concerns about contagion had prompted some sellers to take their homes off the market in order to avoid holding viewings,” the report says. “Contacts thought that some buyers were staying away for the same reason.”
Agree a delay
Yesterday the Ministry of Housing advised the public not to move home unless they were contractually bound to, or both parties were unable to agree to a delay.
The report also reveals cooling sentiment within the new homes market and that the number of visitors to show homes and marketing suites has fallen over the past two weeks.
Official advice to restrict travel and social interaction is expected to deter prospective buyers over the coming weeks, the report says.
Only the private rental market remains relatively untouched, largely because many letting agents can continue managing properties remotely on behalf of their landlord clients and organise maintenance and repair work, which is still allowed under government guidance rules.