Monday, 06 July 2020

Agents remain optimistic as market picks up after Brexit and coronavirus

THE popularity of the Henley area shows no signs of waning amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to estate agents.

They say that while viewings are not yet at the levels experienced before the lockdown, there are more “serious” offers being made on properties.

Tim Peers, who runs his own agency of the same name in Duke Street, Henley, says the market has changed since May 13 when the restrictions were eased.

He said: “I have been incredibly busy and I do think there is a degree of confidence in the market.

“I am encouraged by the viewings, which may be fewer, but there are a lot of serious buyers out there. I also feel that there are two markets currently. There are those who want to purchase right here, right now because they have the money to spend but there are others who, if they don’t do it now, might not be able to borrow the money in the future.

“In the second situation, it may also be that one of the buyers has been furloughed so they might be out of a job at the end of this and unable to support their mortgage from their previous property.”

Mr Peers believes there will be more uncertainty towards the end of the year as the Goverment tries to negotiate a relationship with the European Union following Brexit.

He said: “Brexit has been the source of conversation at everyone’s dinner parties for the past three years and nobody knows how it will affect us — or the effect of the furlough scheme stopping at the end of October.”

Mr Peers added that he has found more people wanting physical viewings rather than watching an online video, adding: “It’s the best way to get a feeling of the atmosphere of a property.”

Philip Booth, who runs his own agency of the same name in Station Road, Henley, agrees that the coronavirus crisis has focused the minds of buyers. He said: “We are very busy and have had a lot of enquiries, particularly from London and the SW and TW postcodes. Interest has mainly been in family-type homes with gardens and maybe extra space for working from home.

“People have also said to me that they would like to have some extra accommodation just in case there is another lockdown and that they need mum and/or dad to come and stay with them.

“They have seen lockdown as a time to reassess how they live while at the same time being at the front of the queue to move after it comes to an end.

“Their thoughts are aimed towards the end of the year, when the economy might be more challenging, so people want to secure their new home now.

“I think we are in a bit of a bubble as Henley has always been a popular town with London buyers because they tend to come with a lot more money behind them. Having said that, we have a two-bedroom property in Park Road priced at £400,000 and we have had a lot of interest in that.”

Paul O’Loughlin, managing director of Warmingham estate agents in Goring, said: “During the lockdown we really were very busy, albeit very restricted on what we were able to undertake.

“We accrued about 150 viewing requests across the board, two dozen valuation requests and we actually agreed six property sales in a wide-ranging cross-section of values.

“Since the lockdown was eased we have seen the previous pent up demand truly move forward with a great show of positivity from buyers, sellers and tenants. We have 19 new sales properties to the market and 21 agreed with another seven offers for four properties being negotiated on.

“Further major developments, such as Crossrail going fully live later on in 2020, will no doubt increase the appeal of the area to those needing access to the City and with continued low interest rates fuelling competitive mortgage products for would-be-buyers, I can only foresee good, steady growth in the longer term.”

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