Aberdeen Housing Market in Lockdown
Normally, Easter weekend signals the start of growing activity in our local housing market as improving weather, longer daylight and the approach of summer encourages the public to look at moving home or buying for the first time.
This year, early in the year, there were signs that folk in our area had started to look at housing in a more positive way. Not a massive increase in activity but a general, slight, improvement in numbers of transactions. Website traffic was significantly higher - a welcome sign indicating, possibly, an increase of interest in the market.
Then along came the pandemic. Slow to impact in the UK, at first, its effects became all too apparent in mid to late March, since when, like nearly every other Western nation, we have been in lockdown.
While undoubtedly necessary, lockdown is a fierce measure with widespread economic consequences. Transformational may not be too strong a word.
I thought information about our housing market might be helpful.
Normally, insertions on ASPC – houses coming on to the market – would be growing in number at this time of year, but because of lockdown, virtually none are coming on. It is not surprising; few folks would want viewers calling just now.
For those already involved in a sale or purchase transaction, the Scottish Government has strongly advised the population not to move house during this period. The Government has closed the Land Register to applications for transfer of title although strenuous efforts are being made by the Register to cater for essential moves on a digital basis. Removers, following Government advice are reluctant to expose their staff to risk, resulting in a shortage of removal resources. Lenders are having to work with reduced staff resources, slowing processing of loan applications.
All in all, it is a gloomy picture, but one that must be set against a background that this period has amounted to a timeframe of only weeks and over the coming weeks the property industry, like many others, will learn to adapt and adopt safe working practices
What is noteworthy, however, is the fact that all legal firms are working as best they can to help clients in the present circumstances. Staff may be working from home, offices may be closed, but member firms are still endeavouring to provide as much help as possible both regarding property transactions and other legal matters.
APSC is still operational - we went live last week with an updated, refreshed website with many improvements. Website traffic is down, as one would expect, but is still at a healthy level. Public My ASPC accounts are being extensively used by members of the public. Much “earmarking” of properties of interest are being saved for follow up when matters ease off. Our staff are working from home, processing amendments, answering phone calls and emails. ASPC has served this area for more than 50 years and we shall carry on doing so.
This will pass. We will come through and ASPC will be here to help, as usual.