The housing market could be set for a period of uncertainty as the ramifications of the Covid-19 fallout begins to hit home.
Estate and letting agencies in Dundee have been operating since the start of lockdown but have been faced with a unique set of challenges posed by the new normal.
Peter Ryder, who acts as the Managing Director of Estate Agency at Thorntons Property, spoke of how the firm had been inundated with calls from prospective buyers during the lockdown period.
He said: “Obviously we haven’t been going to anyone’s houses for viewing or valuations but we have been open during the lockdown.
“The number of phone calls we have been getting has been increasing over the last two to three weeks. There are also a large number of viewing requests being put in and there is about 200 or so to be arranged in and around the Dundee area.
“So I would say for the first four to six weeks after the lockdown restrictions are lifted we are going to be really busy. It certainly has not put anyone off but what we don’t know is how busy we will be after that.”
Pavillion, one of Dundee’s most successful letting firms, has also been kept busy since the start of lockdown trying to ensure its properties continue to be occupied.
With students returning to live with their parents and others being placed on furlough schemes or being made redundant, it has seem a spike in early vacancies at rented properties across the city.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with Evening Telegraph newsletter
Paul Letley, the manager of Pavillion, said: “We have found that there has been a strong demand for one bedroom properties and that might be as a result of the pandemic with people looking to isolate or get their own space.
“We are also looking after our landlords’ and tenants’ interests and where a property has become empty if a student has moved out, we’ll try and advertise that flat and re-let it so the landlord is not left with no income.
“A property is always better to be occupied because there has been a spate of squatters moving into places in Dundee.
“There will be so many ramifications to Covid-19 which are yet to unfold. There are a lot of businesses that may well go bust so people out there may not have the money to buy or will be nervous about buying so may well look to rent instead.”
The restrictions put in place because of Covid-19 has meant those working in the housing market have had to change the way they usually do business, which Thornton’s boss Peter believes could lead to permanent change in how the industry operates.
“We’ve been doing virtual viewings so the clients can have a chance to look round the property before they go out to see it and that’s to encourage serious buyers,” he said.
“But that’s going to be one of the biggest changes in what people want I think because if you are selling a house, you won’t want people trailing through it.
“So within the next six to 12 months I think virtual viewings will become the norm. We don’t know how long coronavirus is going to be about so the market has to change.”