Liverpool’s residential housing market is recovering strongly, after crashing to a halt during the coronavirus lockdown, says local property expert Alan Bevan, who says the lockdown brought the market to an abrupt halt with bans on property viewings and the progression of lettings and sales transactions.
Since the restrictions were eased in May the housing market, has “sprung back to life”, says Mr Bevan, although some uncertainty remains regarding further lockdowns as well as the medium to long-term impact on the wider Merseyside city region economy.
The managing director of Liverpool-based agency, City Residential, publishes regular analysis of the residential market in the city. He claims that since May the recovery in the local market has “accelerated”. “While we did not see a collapse in our existing sales and lettings pipelines, we obviously agreed very few new lettings and sales during this period. Thankfully as we approached late May and were back fully operational the market sprung back to life. There are still huge challenges ahead not least the effect any future lockdowns and COVID-19 issues will have on the market and people’s ability or willingness to move or pay their mortgages and rents. There is also the ongoing and previously mentioned issue as to how the city will emerge from these tough times and whether it will still look and feel like the sort of city that people want to live, work and socialise in.”
He added that on a more positive note there appeared to be a lot of interest from purchasers, whether these were first time buyers, new or experienced investors, who are now being attracted to the area in the hope of buying at vastly reduced prices.
Many landlords are keen to sell given the current challenges in the rental market, offering some good quality, well established housing stock for sale. The continuing era of low interest rates means property remains affordable.
On the negative side, the challenges in the rental market could result in an increase in the amount supply of property for sale, which if not matched by a matching increase in buyers may cause prices to fall.
There are of course the additional problems in the short term regarding the Airbnb and serviced apartment sector mean a number of investors are looking to sell as well as the so called, ‘Grenfell effect’, which makes many apartment blocks currently unsellable/unmortgageable until the cladding is replaced.
Mr Bevan added, “The effects of COVID-19 on the fabric of the city could be devastating especially if further lockdowns are required,” “The city has prospered on its reputation as a vibrant, exciting and friendly place to live, something which could be under threat should the effects be more severe than we currently believe. There are some serious challenges ahead, especially for those smaller independent businesses who are struggling to survive. A more positive note is the apparent desire of the Government to help support the housing market. The announcement of a Stamp Duty holiday until March 2021 was a positive step forward even if it was expected and didn’t include the additional 3% duty payable of second homes/buy to let property. It would not surprise us to see more support for the housing market at some point in the future although the government does not have an endless pot of cash despite appearing like they do so given the scale of their support for the economy.”