London Housing Market – Coronavirus Update
As we move from the extreme nationwide strictures of Covid-19 lockdown, first into a kind of lockdown-lite and now into a phase in which more and more businesses are resuming some form of ‘normal’ activity, many people are wondering about where this leaves the removals industry and the London housing market in general.
The Master Removers Group remained open even at the height of lockdown. We continued to undertake critical moves; these were moves required to go ahead because of compelling circumstances. Some of them were moves with a potential impact on a person’s health and others involved moving chains established before lockdown which had to be followed through. Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of our team of volunteer removal personnel, we were able to keep going and help clients whose moves were deemed vital.
A fortunate consequence of this is that now that the removals industry is starting up again in earnest, we’re already firing in on all cylinders and in perfect place to handle the anticipated increase in demand. Every Master Removers company is primed and ready to operate at optimal efficiency.
Housing Trends Our Partners Are Seeing
The Master Removers Group comprises several removals and storage companies, all of whom report back to us, creating a pool of up-to-date knowledge and know-how and helping us to stay abreast of developments in the market. Among the changes we’ve noticed is that we’re helping many young people who’ve moved out of London for lockdown and returned to their family homes – plenty of them are still working from this new location and are therefore asking us to go to their London flats and remove their possessions.
Another trend we’re seeing more and more of is that of people who are staying in London but need more space because they’re now working from home. We can provide storage advice, helping them to turn cellars, spare bedrooms, sitting room and attics into home-offices by putting their excess belongings into storage or self-storage.
Leaving London Post-Lockdown
Now, we’re anticipating that more and more people will leave London for good – the idea of having more space and a garden is expected to become overwhelmingly appealing as we move into the new socially-distanced reality of 2020 and beyond. This is backed up by the latest home buyer web traffic which suggests that an exodus from the capital could become a reality. Several major property websites, including Rightmove and Savills, have reported a dramatic increase in searches by people in London looking at properties outside the city.
Good News For Owners
Thanks to the lifting of several restrictions in May, fears of a crash in the market have been, if not totally allayed, then certainly suspended for now. Owing to a surge in house prices just before lockdown occurred (the average cost of a London home rose by 1.2 per cent in March, with the greatest increases seen in Hackney, Kensington & Chelsea and Barking & Dagenham) the market was in robust enough a place to withstand the effects of Covid-19. A surge in viewings is now under way and although a seven per cent diminution in prices has been predicted, in the immediate term at least, the signs are much healthier.
The Coronavirus Rentals Market
Rents have been driven down by as much as 15 per cent as a consequence of Covid-19, the lockdown and the ongoing complications of social distancing. For seven weeks, there were tight restrictions on moving and viewing, which only began being loosened on May 13. From figures compiled by Hamptons International, it would seem that the biggest drops have occurred in the most expensive and central zones. Zone 3 has seen a plummet of almost eight per cent, Zone 2, 6.9 per cent and Zone 1, five per cent. One of the big changes is that properties that were part of the short-term, Airbnb/Spareroom.com market have now flooded into the long-term market, creating a surplus. Another contributory factor to the drop in prices is that many people are in compromised employment situations, whether that’s earning 20 per cent less because of furlough or faced with no employment whatsoever.
At the Master Removers Group, we continue to prioritise customer and staff safety – we devised new protocols at the outset of lockdown and have refined them several times since then, putting us at the cutting edge of innovative, coronavirus-conscious working practices. By using a Master Removers Group company for your removals and storage requirements, you’ll be keeping yourself and your loved ones completely safe. Our fully trained, efficient and courteous movers, drivers, planners and packers take every precaution necessary to ensure that every job is undertaken safely.