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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

What impact could coronavirus have on the housing market?

The property market had enjoyed a boost thanks to the outcome of the general election in December, but now the market faces uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Residential property prices increased for the fourth consecutive month in February as the market’s so-called "Boris bounce" pushed the average cost up to £312,625 according to Rightmove, but there are concerns that the surge could be dented by the coronavirus outbreak.

The property website reports that prices are up 3.5% year-on-year, thanks to a major rebound in the market since the Conservatives' election victory in December.

However, the coronavirus disease COVID-19, which has already caused a number of deaths in the UK, could pose a risk to this growth if it has an adverse impact on buyers’ confidence,

Colby Short, CEO at estate agency comparison website GetAgent.co.uk, said: “These are great numbers from Rightmove in respect of asking price highs and a significant reduction in the time taken to sell, particularly in the capital. But hold on, this is data collected only up until 7th March - and to say that a week is a long time in politics is nothing compared to a week where the CoronaVirus news cycle is concerned. 

“The year has started strongly for property and we all realise that the current crisis of health will be temporary, don’t we? But the question is, how temporary? And will a property market that had sprung from the doldrums of political paralysis weather a viral rival? I think so, but it will be challenging indeed for a while still.” 

There are growing signs that the disruption caused by coronavirus is spreading into the property industry, but London-based estate agency Benham & Reeves is urging buyers and sellers to “remain optimistic". 

Marc von Grundherr, director at Benham and Reeves, commented: “Covid-19 is of course a significant issue albeit that enquiry levels and viewings do seem to be holding up for now and we should remain optimistic, firstly for a swift resolution to the pandemic, followed by a robust response from the markets including property which is clearly well placed to withstand current uncertainty.”       

The impact this could have on the housing market is as yet unknown, as the length and continued coronavirus outbreak could cause yet more disruption.

Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax, said: “The UK housing market has remained steady heading into early spring.

“The sustained level of buyer and seller activity is strong compared to recent years, with positive employment conditions and a competitive mortgage market continuing to support demand.”

But Galley acknowledged that it is a waiting game to ultimately see how the housing market will be impacted by coronavirus.

  • Bill Wood

    My guess is that some of my tenants will ask for a rent holiday, or maybe take one without agreement. But what can I do?

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    Be prepared, keep plenty of cash ready just in case. A bit late too say that now, of course, but if you can fit in a judicious remortgage, go interest-only (if you are not already) or have some funds that could be re-purposed, any of those could do the trick to hold you over until tenants can catch up with payments.

  • Paul Barrett

    Responsible tenants would have saved at least 6 months of rent payments.....................just in case.

    They used to call them rainy day savings.
    Doesn't anyone do that anymore!?
    Or is EVERYTHING 'just in time'

    Just proves the vast amount of fecklessness that seems to be endemic in society.
    Go without until you have at least 6 months of rent or mortgage payments.
    I worked extra hard to build up my 'rainy day' savings.
    Came in very handy when mortgage interest rates increased to 15%!!!!!!


    But I was brought up differently to the snowflakes of today.

    If you can't save then obtain credit cards with sufficient limits to cover 6 months of rent or mortgage payments.
    I used to have credit card limits sufficient to keep going for 10 years of mortgage payments.
    Handy 'insurance policy' to beat repossession.
    Perhaps the current situation will concentrate peoples' minds to make themselves more financially resilient for that inevitable 'rainy day'.

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    Perhaps they could sell their fancy cars? Oh...hang on... it's on pcp! Most tenants self isolating will save a fortune on costalot coffees, booze etc. That combined with cancelling their Easter and Summer breaks should go a long way to paying the rent.

     
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    Hi,
    I'm not adverse to helping my tenants, but this is my soul income. I am a guarantor for my son who is care worker and is already in isolation.
    Will there be any help for me? It seems the world believe all landlords have bottomless pockets. I bought these properties as investment for my children. I've never put up my rent, always made good any issues immediately and now, we are flippantly expected to not take rent. How/where do I look for help. I have a young child at home too.

  • Paul Barrett

    Perhaps you should have increased rents in line with the market such that you may have built up a buffer which you could use for your own domestic circumstances?

    It makes no business sense to not have rents at market levels.
    But you are now where you are because of past unbusinesslike behaviour.

    You will need to manage accordingly.

    I simply cannot see private LL being given any assistance at all.
    Tenants might be with their wages paid so they should be able to pay rent.
    Though how some tenants who are not PAYE full- time employees will struggle to be paid as no wages would be known would be paid.

    It is a very difficult time for everyone.
    But guaranteed LL will not be directly assisted at all.

    Starts to make the DSS proposition seem not so bad now as the State still pays guaranteed rent.

    I predict more LL will become interested in letting to DSS tenants despite all the known issues with them

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    As a follow up, my landlord insurance covers for non payment of rent...but, only if I want to take my tenants to court, get them out and find new tenants.
    That is obviously not what I want to do.
    The Chancellor is, as I write talking about speaking to insurers to ensure they make payments and and change their parameters for claims to include Corvid-19.
    I think there is a case for my insurer to include non-payment because of pandemic, that doesn't mean throwing my tenants out.

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    I haven't put my rent up because both sets of tenants are fantastic and I'm not greedy, I manage very well on what they pay. I have a son with a young family and I see how extremely difficult it is for young people. I am endeavouring to do my bit by helping out these young people.
    I do have a buffer but I'm still quite young and have a young family.
    As I said this is my sole income.

    Paul Barrett

    How very twee!
    At what point do you consider you reach a greedy level!?
    Also who decides what a greedy level may be!?
    Do you consider market rents as greedy!?

    Not sure if you understand the business of being a LL ESPECIALLY if it is your sole income.
    If you choose not to charge market rents that is your problem.
    I always charge market rents and only two tenants have ever vacated as a consequence.
    I replaced them with higher rent paying occupants.
    It is your choice to restrict the income you receive.
    Don't think that anyone will thank you.
    To many you are still a snivelling parasite though of course you and I clearly aren't as we provide a much in demand service which nobody else is providing.

    Your fantastic tenants DON'T pay the bills if the rent they pay leaves you struggling.
    You should at least increase rents to market rents.
    Have you not been a victim like many other LL of all the bonkers anti-LL regulations!?

    Your costs must surely have increased.

    Perhaps you need to reconsider your business methods in light of everything that is occurring to ensure you are more financially resilient!?

    It is unreasonable for even fantastic tenants not to be paying the going rate whether considered greedy or not.
    Look after no 1; that's YOU!!.................NOT your fantastic tenants.
    I imagine your insurance is RGI in which case will only work if your tenants default on rent.
    You CANNOT initiate a RGI claim UNLESS the tenants default.
    Very shrewd of you to have RGI.
    But once claimed on your tenants will be eventually evicted.
    Might take many months but you will not be able to retain them if you needed RGI on them in future.
    They should know that many future LL will reject any tenants who can't qualify for RGI.

     
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    So, no then, no help for private landlords from the government on the horizon.
    Thank you for the self-righteous guidance, it was invaluable.🙄

    Paul Barrett

    Yep as a LL you MUST be self -righteous.
    If you aren't you could find yourself suffering greatly.
    As a LL you must always be correct.
    If you aren't you wont be a LL for long.

    I think you need to reassess what you are doing as a LL if you have concerns as to your viability.
    Nobody else cares what you do except perhaps your tenants.
    Suppose it depends on how much suffering you wish to do for your fantastic tenants.
    Up to you if you want to be a martyr for your tenants.
    As a LL you should accept that whether needed or not you have a responsibility as a business to charge market rates.
    This will build resilience for you and as may be evidenced by the CV19 debacle you can't really be too resilient as a LL.
    Self-righteousness could well save you from financial oblivion
    Your choice!

     
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    Matha West- Good landlords like yourself are unfortunately given bad reputation by greedy landlords.
    Keep up the great work. 👏🏻 👏🏻
    Nonetheless during these unprecedented period of CoVID19 pandemic, firstly communicate with your tenants, and find other potential cashflow to cover any possible rent arrears.
    As the Chancellor mentioned, contact your local council (re council tax break/benefits since it’s your sole income), speak to bank/mortgage lender to freeze/take a payment break for 3-6 months, approach insurer (if applicable), & engage with the local support services eg citizens advice bureau, pro bono legal advise centers etc. & use online resources especially since you have young children, it’s imperative that everything is done to protect yourself, children as well as supporting your good tenants. Best wishes.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    @abi B

    Please define who you are referring to as greedy LL.!?

    Ones who charge £10 less than market rents........£20, £30, £40, £50.
    Come on we LL all want to know as a seemingly self-appointed arbiter what you consider a greedy LL is.
    Personally I think you are an idiot pontificating on what you think are greedy LL.
    There is no such thing as a greedy LL.
    LL charge market rents.
    If tenants DON'T pay then others will.
    Just because someone can't afford market rents doesn't mean the LL is greedy.
    I DON'T consider LL in Central London greedy even though I can't afford such rent levels.
    I would have to rent where I can afford.
    If I am fortunate to source a dopey LL not charging market rents then that would be happy days for me!!!
    There are many fools like you that continually trot out the greedy LL moniker.
    LL charging market rents are not greedy LL.

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    Well said Paul, these idiots have no idea.

     
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    You are greedy Paul. That much is abundantly clear. I think it's about time you got a proper job.

     
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    Please give the lady a break you are too severe, show some sympathy to people who are struggling, those are terrible times for everyone, surely the writing is on the wall. I have Tenants who have lost their jobs already or income very limited. This is going to be a big hit on LL's & Tenants alike, we were struggling too much before this due to Rogue Regulators, no stopping them but like to portray us as the Rogues imagine that they are just useless lobby groups, we are a very resilient lot to have withstood the last 15 years of battering, no other Business would have been bothered or dedicated enough to tolerate such abuse. Obviously this is a bad recession even without coronavirus we were doomed before because of unfair competition and taxes, now where are the LL bashers any more bright ideas.

    Paul Barrett

    We are all struggling but my bank the hated MX has NO sympathy whatsoever.
    It is pay up or repossession occurs.
    That is the reality.
    So lets have no bleeding hearts about how we LL should be understanding of these difficult times for tenants..
    Poppycock!!
    We can't care cos our lenders DON'T care.
    If my lender offers forbearance then I can to my occupants.
    No sign yet of any forbearance offer from MX!!!
    Until that occurs if ever I can have no sympathy with a tenants financial circumstances.
    It is pay up or get out.
    Believe me I won't be that bothered about the Prevention of Eviction Act!!!!

     
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    Paul Barrett threatening to kick vulnerable people out on to the streets during a global pandemic.
    Only caring or having sympathy for someones situation when it's financially convenient for yourself.
    Why can't you dip in to your "rainy day" fund?

     
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    I read this thread with such utter horror that i was moved to sign up to comment. Why the unwarranted unpleasant personal attack on Martha, Paul Barrett? A crisis like this brings out the best and the worst in human nature and it's clear who sits where in this conversation. My own commercial tenants are hardworking self-employed people whose decades old businesses face immediate failure due to social distancing. Surely this is a time for humanity and compassion; a time for people to help each other where they can so that we can all come out the other side in a position to pick up where we left off when this is over? My own lender is offering a 6 month repayment holiday which I intend to pass on to my tenants who no longer have an income to pay the rent. Treat people with respect and compassion and you will receive the same in return. We all pay LL insurance but they, as ever, will find a reason why we're not covered. Good luck to you Martha. It's the Paul Barretts and Direct Lines of this world who have been clearing the shelves of toilet rolls & pasta without a thought for anyone else!

    Daniela Provvedi

    Hi Martin, where I TOTALLY agree with what you say, please try and see both sides of the story. As mentioned before in some of my other comments, I also don't always agree with Paul Barrett (in fact hardly ever). However, you can't deny the fact that us LL have been treated quite badly by the government lately. Most of us do provide a good service, and yes, there are bad LL out there BUT there are many bad tenants as well. Most of Paul Barrett's comments show me that he's a disappointed, angry man. You're probably asking yourself "then why doesn't he stop being a LL and leave" - firstly, easier said than done, especially if you've been doing it for many years. And secondly, if you have read his comments, yes, he is leaving.
    You state "Surely this is a time for humanity and compassion" - you're right, it is. Where I just browse through and don't pay much attention to what Paul says, some people take it personally instead of just ignoring him. I hope Paul reads his past comments and realises he's being a d*ckhead.
    I ask that you and Martha don't take Paul's comments to heart, but to focus on other people's comments instead.
    And to Paul Barrett I say, you've crossed the line now. Stop being a d*ck and if you haven't got something nice to say, then don't say anything at all please.

     
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