The last few months have been a difficult time for all industries, and the housing market has been no exception.
Knights Estate Agents has been open here on Barry’s High Street for more than 25 years, and Managing Director Carey Jones says he’s never seen anything have an impact like the coronavirus pandemic, “It has been an unprecedented time” he says. “As lockdown measures were introduced in March we at Knights were forced close our doors, not knowing when they would reopen. But shutting the office didn’t mean shutting down completely, as some members of staff were able work from home, providing support for landlords and tenants, and allowing house sales to complete”.
Carey, like so many other business owners, is grateful for modern technology, which allowed aspects of our business to keep going despite the restrictions, but government rules meant viewings and valuations were suspended and no one was allowed to move house.
However in the last few weeks restrictions have started to ease and our offices are now open again. “It has been a worrying time for estate agents, but here at Knights the signs have been positive since we reopened. Our sales, rental and commercial teams have all been busy with enquiries from people who are looking to move, and that’s not just good news for us, but also for local mortgage brokers, removals companies and solicitors too” says Carey.
It’s thought one of the reasons the housing market seems to be bouncing back is that people have spent a long time at home and now many are ready for a change. Virtual viewings and website listings have also allowed people to look at available properties from a distance, and the Welsh Government has announced changes to the land transaction tax making more homes exempt from the fee.
But getting back to business doesn’t come without its challenges, and companies are having to adapt to a ‘new normal’.
“We have made several changes to our working practices at Knights Estate Agents” says Carey. “Screens have been installed at every desk to protect clients and staff, and we have a range of cleaning products, including hand gel, antibacterial wipes and sprays, which are available for everyone to use. In addition, we are limiting the number of people coming in at any one time and all viewings and valuations are being carried out in line with government Covid-19 regulations. We are also offering digital valuations and viewings for those who want them.”