As of Wednesday 6th January 2021, England entered its third national lockdown in order to stem the rising cases of COVID-19. Similar to the previous two national lockdowns, people across the UK are required to stay at home. Schools, non-essential shops and hospitality facilities are among the areas that must close and any unnecessary travel must be avoided.
Whilst the property market came to a standstill during the first lockdown, it was able to continue operations during the second. Naturally, similar levels of uncertainty as to the functioning of the sector remain prevalent once again. Here’s what a third lockdown means for the property market and property managers.
Overview of the first two lockdowns
During the first lockdown in March 2020, the property market was temporarily restricted. This meant that property managers were forced to operate virtually in order to maintain ongoing operations. As May came around, the sector was effectively “unlocked” by the government.
In November 2020, a second lockdown was required in a bid to curb the rising cases of COVID-19. However, the property market was able to remain open during this period and during the most recent tier system as well. This was a major boost to the market and emphasises the significant role the property market could play in the economic recovery from the pandemic.
What are the new rules?
The property market once again will remain open during the third lockdown. The likes of letting agencies and contractors can continue their operations with safety guidelines strongly advised, particularly when entering homes.
Mark Hayward, chief policy advisor at NAEA Propertymark, has stated: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period, but it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.”
Can house viewings continue?
In person viewings are allowed to continue, however predominantly virtual-based viewings are strongly encouraged. As the government website states, “initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible.” For a prospective viewing to take place, it is advised that they are arranged by appointments only. Additionally, adhering to health and safety guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a face covering are strongly advised.
Can people still move?
People will still be able to move during the third lockdown, however there are some restrictions in place. As the government website states, “people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.” Therefore, whilst you can still move, those that help you in the process must be from your household or support bubble.
Adapting to another lockdown
Despite the property market remaining open during the third lockdown, challenges will arise for property managers. However, the heightened uncertainty of the previous lockdowns can now be replaced with experience. The property market’s ability to adapt very quickly has ensured the market operates efficiently and effectively. Understanding how processes and systems could be built upon or improved to further adapt will become crucial.
The sector has made tremendous strides in adopting technology in order to help property managers overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic. Digitising property management processes can make it a lot easier for teams to work remotely and thrive in the face of uncertainty. Cloud-based solutions ensure that all employees are able to access everything they need from anywhere, anytime. This will once again become pivotal in the property market’s abilities to weather any challenges in 2021.