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The Impact of Coronavirus on Estate Agency

Mark Hempshell reports

Coronavirus is having an impact on the property industry, to say nothing of daily life that would have been totally unforeseeable just a few short weeks ago. In this market report we will take a look specifically at the impact it is having on the sales and letting agency business by taking in the thoughts of those in the industry.

Firstly, Alan Bevan, managing director at City Residential in Liverpool, talks about the immediate impact on his agency: “It has logically had a huge effect. The immediate issues have resulted from the Government closure of all non-essential businesses. This has reduced the flow of new business by around 80%.

“In sales we have seen a loss of 15-20% of our sales pipeline as prospective buyers and sellers withdraw for various reasons. Our ability to convert the rest of the sales in our pipeline through to completions will also be hugely affected by the Government requesting all sales be delayed for the foreseeable future.

“In our lettings we are seeing very few new lets as the Government’s advice to delay transactions also applies to the lettings market. We are still seeing some new enquiries but these are coming from tenants wanting to rent as a necessity rather than any other reason.

“With regards to ongoing rent payments/existing tenancies we have seen an immediate reaction by a number of overseas students to end their tenancies by handing their keys in. This has been driven by their desire or necessity to get home ASAP. The physical closure of all universities has also forced or encouraged many students to head home and look for reductions in rent as they will no longer be resident for the rest of their academic year.”

He adds: “It is definitely too early to establish the full impact the lockdown will have on the level of tenants trying to exit existing agreements, not paying rent or asking for rent reductions, but it will be substantial. This will obviously have a huge impact on agents’ income and that of their landlord clients.

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