The property market was allowed to continue operating during the second lockdown, which was good news for the 500,000 or so current transactions that are proceeding (albeit slowly). However, strict protocols on viewings and valuation appointments continue and many offices are being manned only by a limited number of staff, with working remotely the preferred option.
There is no doubt that covid-19 will be looked back on as creating the biggest paradigm shift since the arrival of the internet in how the residential property market (and many others) operates. The need for the habits of the nation to change will be key to steering the ship through the choppy waters ahead.
Back in March when the first lockdown was imposed, the estate agency industry was forced to think outside the box and many introduced new methods of working, often focused on technology and the ability to work remotely.
Reducing costs was uppermost on everyone’s agenda and there was a lot of discussion around cutting back on marketing expenditure, particularly on the major property portals which had become the third-highest area of expenditure for most businesses after people and premises.
Change was already happening but covid-19 became a catalyst for accelerating the move to new ways of working. Or did it?
Well, for many it did and those business have incorporated new ways of working, such as virtual viewings, into their day-to-day operations, with subsequent improved productivity. Some businesses have cut premises expenditure through assessing the true need for what they had, and some have withdrawn completely from the traditional high-street model.