These are unprecedented times and whilst it is difficult to make any predictions, agents have commented on how the majority of transactions are proceeding, and hinted at the pent up demand once some normality returns.
So let's consider two points:
1. The majority of transactions are proceeding. Believe it or not, deals are still being concluded; people are agreeing to buy and sell properties. My agent contacts are reporting that they remain busy negotiating and putting deals together. Since the lockdown, my team and I have received a healthy amount of new instructions from clients on the move. It has therefore been with some surprise that we have noticed some other law firms either introduce a blanket policy advising their clients not to proceed (for now), or temporarily shutting up shop altogether! This is not always necessary, and is not particularly helpful either, especially where it's possible to proceed safely, and in accordance with the Government's guidelines currently, with a combination of common sense, good faith and well drafted and balanced 'COVID19' contract clauses.
2. There is pent up demand. If you are not in a position to put your property on the market at this stage, then now might be the ideal time for prospective sellers to locate and organise any relevant paperwork that will be needed for a future sale (e.g. details of any building works, copies of planning permissions, building regulation completion certificates, copies of notices and correspondence relating to the property). You can instruct your lawyer now to assist with this work. If you are also looking to buy in due course, you can start speaking to surveyors and mortgage brokers. Every bit of preparation undertaken at this stage, should make things easier and quicker in due course.
One in five property sales underway in London when the Covid-19 pandemic struck have fallen through, meaning the vast majority of buyers and sellers have held their nerve. While government restrictions mean that physical viewings are not allowed, Covid-19 clauses are among a number of measures being used to ensure that most transactions are, for now, holding together.