Battling Ahead During Covid
Despite the incredible challenges and hardships, not to mention tragedies that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought upon the UK and the wider global community, the process of moving home has been permitted to continue. From an industry perspective, it was surprising to note the increased activity within the market after the initial lockdown in March to May last year. We saw many city dwellers hurredly migrating to start a new life of quality here, amongst the countryside and charm of West Sussex.
This trend was further exacerbated when the Government issued a Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday (SDLT) which draws to a close on the 31st March. At the present time it is not known, despite extensive debate, whether there will be a further extension to the deadline. Meanwhile, thousands of purchasers and their conveyancers are trying to finalise transactions in time, which is creating considerable strain and pressure on the conveyancing industry, not least because of the increased time it is taking to acquire relevant information from local authorities.
The good news for sellers however, was that the Nationwide reported a 6 year high of 6.9% in house price growth at the end of last year, which seems to emphasise that despite incredible adversity, the will to move home has not waned for many.
At Richwards, we have certainly adapted to the new way of working, and whilst we can, we are keeping our high street office open albeit with reduced staffing for safety reasons, and we use an appointment system for visitors. We have also invested in the latest technology to enable those that are not visible in the office to be working normally at home or always contactable on the usual office telephone number. Industry and Government advice stipulates that whilst we are able to continue with viewing appointments, we must strictly adhere to social distancing, the wearing of PPE and hand sanitization. We are always happy to send out our Guideline sheet ahead of appointments.
By Simon Anckorn