Liverpool housing market recovers from ‘Armageddon’

Liverpool’s residential market is ‘recovering strongly’ after grinding to a halt during the coronavirus lockdown, a local expert Alan Bevan says. Tony McDonough reports

Quay Central
New residential schemes in Liverpool include the Romal Capital development at Liverpool Waters 

 

Liverpool’s housing marketing is now recovering “strongly” following the “Armageddon” of the March coronavirus lockdown.

That is the verdict of Liverpool property expert Alan Bevan who says the lockdown brought the market to a halt with bans on viewings and on the progression and movement of sales and lettings transactions.

However, since the restrictions were eased in May the market, says Mr Bevan, has “sprung back to life”, although uncertainty remains about further lockdowns and the medium to long-term impact on the wider Merseyside 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 said that on the positive side there appeared to be good interest from most purchasers, whether these be first time buyers, new investors or experienced investors, who are being attracted to the city in the hope of buying at reduced prices.

Some landlords are keen to sell given the challenges of the rental market, he added, thereby offering some good quality, well established stock for sale. He also said the continuing ere of low interest rates meant property was affordable.

Tobacco Warehouse
Liverpool’s Grade II-listed Tobacco Warehouse will house 200 luxury apartments

 

On the negative said, Mr Bevan said the challenges in the rental market were resulting in an increase in supply of property for sale which if not matched by an increase in buyers may cause prices to fall.

He also referred to the “carnage” in the short term/Airbnb and serviced apartment sector which was meant a number of investors were looking to sell. And there was, he said, a Grenfell effect which makes many apartment blocks currently unsaleable/unmortgageable until the cladding is renewed.

“The effects of COVID-19 on the fabric of the city could be devastating especially if further lockdowns are required,” said Mr Bevan. “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 ofof 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.”

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