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Jameson and Partners estate agents discuss the local housing market post lockdown

The housing market – Q&A with Jennifer Jameson

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The housing market – Q&A with Jennifer Jameson

Since the government confirmed estate agents could reopen, the housing market has a chance to get back on its feet. While we at Jameson and Partners never actually shut down all of our services, we did of course cease face-to-face viewings. Instead, we carried out any essential viewings, virtually.
We’re now back doing viewings and Managing Director Jennifer Jameson shares her thoughts on the impact of the lockdown. Plus, find out what she thinks the future holds for the local property market.

What impact has the lockdown had on Jameson and Partners? And what changes did you have to put in place over the course of the lockdown?
We had to completely close the office during the period of full lockdown. We were able to continue working from home, covering all incoming phone calls and enquires. Prior to the lockdown we made arrangements to create a video tour of all of our properties. Therefore, while viewings were not possible in person, we could share this footage with those interested in our properties.
For our rental stock, this method worked surprisingly well. We managed to let many of our rental units this way. The properties which were most popular were family homes with gardens, for rent immediately. We had an influx of small families living in properties without outside space, who were desperate to secure a home with a garden.

Have you noticed any significant change in enquiries, since some of the restrictions were eased?
Yes, since the lockdown was eased, we’ve seen an increase in interest in properties for sale. Most often, those looking to purchase are not willing to commit without visiting the house in person.
And we are unable to access all our properties. Some are occupied by those in high risk groups, meaning we can only share a video tour of these units.
We’ve had an equal measure of good and bad news since the lockdown was eased. We’ve unfortunately had some clients withdraw from agreed purchases, due to concerns over the market. Despite this, we’ve managed to agree sales on several properties over the past week. It seems many buyers have been waiting for the mortgage restrictions to be lifted before moving forward with a purchase.

Would you say you have seen more activity across sales or lettings, or both?
The dynamics of the housing market have changed swiftly. In the lockdown period, we were predominantly handling rental enquires. The sales enquires are now starting to pick up pace once again.

How have house prices fared over the last couple of weeks? Do you anticipate much or any change with the property prices across the region?
I don’t expect the local prices to increase or decrease over the coming months. Altrincham is a resilient housing market with a good level of demand. The uncertainty will most likely flatten the predicted increase in prices, but I feel it is very unlikely that prices in this area will decrease. We expect a stable market for the next 6-12 months.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to sell at present?
While levels of stock are low, now is good time to get your property on the market. Demand dictates the market price, therefore, less stock means a higher chance of a sale at a favourable price.
My advice would be to act swiftly at a time like this. Take the opportunity to seek a sale while others are still pondering the uncertainty. The market should be buoyant throughout the summer months this year. While most families would normally take a holiday, I think many will remain at home this year and continue their property search. Meaning while August is normally a month to take a back seat, this August could be a busy time for the housing market.

Do you think what we’ve experienced with Covid-19 will impact the way estate agents work in the future?
Yes, these times are challenging. But it is at challenging times that we need to be creative and look for solutions to solve the new problems we face. Navigating through this period has made us re-consider many aspects of the business, and the way we practice. We will also use what we have learnt to improve our service and the overall efficiency of the business.

Most agents have discovered the beauty of video, something which has now become common practice and I imagine, will be from now on. We discovered the importance of rigorous screening to filter out those who are serious. Meaning less time wasted and a much higher conversion rate from viewing to offer. We’ve discovered new software and new ways to communicate with our clients. We’ve put in place new staff management methods, more flexible working arrangements and we’ve spotted flaws in the business which were not otherwise apparent. The industry will see much change and improvement as a result of the new challenges we face.

If you would like more information with regards selling or renting across the Altrincham and wider area, then get in touch with us at Jameson and Partners. As local estate agents, we have unrivalled knowledge of the local area and are passionate about getting the right results for our customers. You can call us on 0161 941 4445, or send us an enquiry here.