THE Covid-19 lockdown has failed to dent Tameside’s buoyant housing market with business booming at three of the borough’s top selling estate agents since they re-opened.
John Grantham, owner of Home, described the volume as “incredible”.
In the first seven days after restrictions were eased, Home had 139 viewings, completed 11 sales and had 162 clients registered as potential buyers.
With viewings averaging 20 each day – it was 10 before lockdown – John is delighted by the way the housing market has bounced back.
He said: “We are already back to the levels before we had to close which is incredible and the market is looking good.
“It has been quite scary because nobody knew what the market would be like when we re-opened.
“It was a case of keeping your head and believing it would be fine. The fear was we would lose 50 per cent of our business and have to pedal through.
“We have come back very quickly, and it has been manic since we re-opened.”
In the first two-and-a-half months of 2020 before lockdown, Home sold a record 130 properties.
John added: “We sold 37 in the first 20 days of a crazy March.
“Jumping straight back to those figures after lockdown is extremely encouraging for the housing market and will help boost the economy.”
John explained Home had 104 homes under offer at lockdown. He normally anticipates a 20 per cent fall through, but during this period it has only been five per cent.
He attributes this to buyers, who are often living with parents or in cramped conditions, desperate to get into their own property.
During lockdown Home, whose headquarters are in Hyde, competed only 10 sales in seven weeks as the market almost ground to a complete standstill.
And John praised the Government for their support during the coronavirus crisis.
He explained: “Without the furlough scheme, I am sure a lot of estate agents would have gone under.
“We went two months with hardly any income and furlough helped us.”
John’s comments were echoed by Richard Powell, managing director at Ryder & Dutton which has 24 branches from Tameside to West Yorkshire, Blackburn and the Ribble Valley.
Richard said: “It is remarkably busy and we are absolutely inundated with enquiries.
“When we came back, we had 1,500 viewing appointments to arrange.”
Richard added there is a massive demand for property, both for sale and to rent.
And with the property on the market the lowest for decade, Richard believes this will maintain prices and he does not envisage prices falling.
He continued: “January, February and March were three of our best months for a long time.
“We are currently clearing a backlog of enquiries and it remains to be seen whether we return to the pre-lockdown levels,”
Richard added Ryder & Dutton are having to adjust to a different working environment – virtual viewings and videos of property – and it will take the public time to adjust to the new rules.
He pointed out the public have been co-operative turning up to viewings with their own personal protective equipment (PPE) – masks and gloves.
Richard Wood, a chartered surveyor/director at W C Dawson & Son, added people are not afraid to move despite the economic challenges.
He said: “Since the Government re-opened the property industry, we have experienced an extremely high level of interest, both sales and rental properties.
“These have been from people looking to move, not only prior to lockdown but those who have since realised their present home is unsuitable and now is the right time to move.
“Our survey department has also experienced many enquiries for private valuations, particularly for the RICS Homebuyers’ Report which gives purchasers additional piece of mind for what is their most important purchase.”
Richard added demand in the rental market is particularly high.
W C Dawson & Son manage 600 houses. Currently they have 25 empty and nearly 1,000 enquiries which equates to 40 per property.