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What's been the impact of 'Freedom Day' on the property market?

What's been the impact of 'Freedom Day' on the property market?

The arrival of so called 'Freedom Day' might have passed you by if it hadn't been for the constant referencing to it in all areas of the media. Far from people ripping off their face masks and running rampant in shops and supermarkets, drunkenly hugging and kissing random strangers in pubs and restaurants and rushing back to the office for some friendly face-to-face banter with work colleagues, by and large things have remained... well, pretty much the same!

Indeed, in some quarters, the much-vaunted final lifting of all Covid restrictions was even dubbed a 'damp squib'. Addison Lee, for example, expected to see a huge surge in bookings as people returned to work but wanted to avoid public transport. However, City of London bookings barely changed from the previous week. It would appear that workers are quite happy to remain in their home offices for the foreseeable, and employers are in no immediate rush to force them back.

So, what does this mean for the property market? It's obviously still early days, but with the working from home mindset holding strong in most quarters (Lloyds Banking Group recently announced it expects 80 per cent of staff to adopt a hybrid work model eventually), the desire for more space - both indoors and out - will continue to dominate people's decisions to move.

It had been anticipated that 'Freedom Day' would result in more people putting their property on the market as reluctance to having strangers around their home would substantially decrease. However, being just a few weeks in, we've yet to see a marked increase in supply and a subsequent ease in the upward pressure on prices.

For the time being it would appear that clients and agents alike are leaning on the side of caution when it comes to safety measures, after all the virus is still very much out there and large swathes of the population have yet to be vaccinated. It's why here at Butler & Stag, we have continued observing the mask-wearing, sanitizing and social distancing when it comes to doing business, with initial viewings still being virtual wherever possible. Of course, should any of the team develop even the slightest symptoms, they will self-isolate immediately. Suffice to say, our commitment to the health and safety of staff and clients remains at the forefront of everything we do.

It's a stance backed up by the government, which two days after 'Freedom Day' issued new guidance regarding moving home, advising everyone involved in the home buying and selling process to 'continue to act carefully and remain cautious.' The message is therefore clear - despite the lifting of many of the legal restrictions imposed through the pandemic, this is not yet a return to normal.

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