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20 November 2020
The start of lockdown initiated a significant slowdown in the property market in early Spring 2020. While most ongoing transactions continued to completion throughout that period, new matters and fresh sale agreements diminished almost entirely, with estate agents, surveyors, removal companies and other sector service providers unable to physically attend properties.
Essentially, the market slowdown lasted for a number of weeks during lockdown through to early Summer 2020. Reassuringly, as Jersey came out of lockdown, there was an exponential increase in property transactions, which peaked in August 2020 when the industry had to adjust to the sheer volume of work.
While all sectors of the market have been exceptionally busy, there was a noticeable wave of transactions for properties in the £600,000 to £800,000 price bracket, with many such properties selling at full asking price within days of coming on the market. In September 2020 the market remained strong and confident; property prices did not seem to have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and there were no signs of the market slowing down beyond the autumnal norm.
In the winter months, public resilience may be tested again by new waves of COVID-19 but, as yet, there have been no signs of an uncontrollable rise in cases and there is no reason to believe at this stage that any tightening of restrictions would directly and negatively affect the property market. If the rapid resurgence of the market seen in the summer is anything to go by, any reduction in transactions over the winter months which is beyond the seasonal norm may lead to a similar increase in activity and competition next spring. As spring is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the property market, now could be a great time to get ahead of the crowd and buy property before that rush. Further, with a significant number of people looking to buy properties in a market which is still catching up from the lockdown freeze – and many properties reaching full asking price – this certainly is not a bad time to sell.
July and August 2020 were busy months for the industry, which had to adapt quickly to significantly increased workflows and changes in the working environment. Currently, the market is strong but not overbearing and transactions have generally returned to the normal completion window of about five to six weeks.
Those looking to sell property now should be mindful that the market is buoyant and so securing a deal is likely to be quicker than anticipated. However, the conveyancing process must still be completed accurately and efficiently, and so it is advisable to speak to a legal representative as early as possible and discuss a realistic timeframe from the outset.
Only time will tell what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on the community, the economy and, specifically, the property market. However, fortunately, it is easier to impose and lift tailored control measures in Jersey than in larger, more open populations. This, together with the imminent vaccine, will hopefully prevent any serious escalation in the number of people affected by COVID-19 now and in the future and, in turn, keep the local economy in a good place.
The Jersey property market is a closed system and a finite number of properties coupled with a relatively affluent population results in a constant flow of property transactions and price stability. Although the nature of the pandemic makes predictions for the coming months difficult, the security of island life should help to sustain confidence and protect the property market in the final quarter of 2020 and into 2021.
For further information on this topic please contact Charles Le Maistre at Ogier by telephone (+44 1534 514 000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Ogier website can be accessed at www.ogier.com.
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