Property industry worried about coronavirus
Industry figures are worried public concerns about coronavirus will have an adverse effect on business, after the number of reported cases reached 115 yesterday.
The market has had a busy start to the year, but there are fears the virus will put the breaks on activity.
Jonathan Sealey, Hope Capital’s chief executive, said: “Over the past few months it has felt as though we were experiencing a real sea change in the market as the political arena became less of a focus.
“We have definitely seen the busiest start to any year so far as people started looking forward to a more stable environment.
“Unfortunately, that may well be up in the air again as nervousness surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak takes hold.”
And Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, said: “We’ve started the year well but there is one black cloud that is hard to ignore, and it is one that is already having an effect on the world’s economy.
“How the coronavirus effect will translate down the line into the housing market is anyone’s guess, but it is unlikely to have no effect at all.”
One commentator speculated whether the virus fears could push the regulator towards loosening mortgage affordability rules.
Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: “While we’re yet to see the impact of uncertainty linked to coronavirus on the housing market, if lending continues to slow – the time might be coming for the regulator to consider a gentle easing of restrictions around affordability.”