Press Round Up November 2020
What will the second lock-down mean for the housing market? Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told This is Money: ‘While our offices will remain open, we will be working a rotational policy once more, trying to reduce the spread of the virus by minimising face-to-face contact as much as possible.’
Arrears and possessions remained at historically low levels in Q3. Jeremy Leaf told Your Money: ‘Mortgage arrears and possessions are always a key indicator of market strength as many will not be activated unless lenders believe there is a good chance of selling. Over the past year or so, lenders have been reluctant to enforce proceedings, but mortgage holidays won’t last indefinitely and particularly if debts can’t be serviced. As a result, we are likely to see an increase in possessions and for that matter, arrears as government support falls away, which will inevitably have an impact on housing supply and will help to keep rising prices in check.’
Asking prices dropped slightly over the past month by 0.5 per cent, according to Rightmove, amid concerns that buyers who agree a purchase now may not be able to complete before the end of March and take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Express: ‘Many are aware that delays in arranging mortgages, surveyors, searches and conveyancing due to the busier-than-expected post-lockdown uplift has meant meeting that deadline could be touch-and-go even, if agreeing terms in the next few weeks.'
The average UK house price reached a record high in September, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail that the report ‘underlines what we were seeing at the tail end of the aftermath of the first lockdown mini-boom’. He continued: ’Since then, activity cooled and was replaced by a more cautious approach before the prospect of a Covid-19 vaccine reinvigorated the market.’ He explained further in The Independent: ‘The stamp duty concession has proved to be a particularly important contributory factor and will continue to be so until prospects of meeting the spring deadline recede, unless of course the chancellor is minded to reconsider.'Down valuations are on the rise as lenders worry as to what will happen to property prices once the furlough scheme and stamp duty holiday comes to an end. Jeremy Leaf gave buyers some tips via The Evening Standard: ‘You can reduce the chances [of a down valuation] by having comparable property examples to hand. If you are making an offer, then you are likely to have looked at other similar properties so keep the details and make sure you have access to them later down the line.'