Property providers anticipate busy lockdown amid strong demand
Buyers rush to drive sales before lockdown, but agents confident transactions can continue
House prices decreased by 0.6% in August, according to the CSO
While another lockdown is never good news the property sector was taking the latest measures on the chin this week. Compared with the March lockdown l consensus among agents was that this time around they are much better prepared.
Restricted viewings got the all clear on Wednesday and for those outside of a client's 5km range virtual viewings are now available on almost all properties. Where sales are already under way, valuations and surveys can be conducted once Covid safety measures are followed.
A last-minute rush this week among buyers to drive sales over the line, and the recent buoyant market are further encouraging signs according to David Byrne, managing director of Lisney: “We know there is underlying strength in the market and that the market has shown resilience in the face of these restrictions earlier in the year. I am expecting we will have a very busy December and January much in the same way July and August were.”
But as we move into winter, and the natural closing phase for the housing market, can we expect stock levels to improve or will sellers put plans on hold? Byrne believes it’s a good time to launch. “Our experience from the last lockdown was the inquiries were incredibly high. People will have more time to search online over the next few weeks and there will be buyers who will still be keen to at least find the right house before Christmas.”
Asking-price figures published earlier in the week showing a 4.8per cent increase nationally in the three months to the end of September reflect an unexpected boom in sentiment coming out of the first lockdown – at least among sellers. Actual house-sale figures lag this somewhat with latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures showing prices across the State decreased by 0.6 per cent year on year in August. The seller optimism is based on a strong few months’ sales since the first lockdown measures lifted and limited availability of housing stock to buy.
“The asking-price inflation we are seeing is down to more optimistic vendors,” says Marian Finnegan, residential managing director of Sherry FitzGerald, adding that their sales figures are consistent with those of the CSO. “Robust vendor pricing is a sign of confidence in the market where people are pitching a bit higher. Certainly up to now things have been flying, there’s been healthy activity this year.”
DNG managing director Keith Lowe says their viewing numbers remain high and demand for future viewings this week was strong. In a timely move DNG has just launched an upgraded online experience to allow virtual viewing appointments where agents walk viewers through houses live online. Viewers can ask questions in real time as they walk through the property. DNG says it plans to extend the offering to facilitate multiple viewers at one appointment in the coming weeks.