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Back to “normal” life back to reality?


THE BIG PICTURE: ‘Back to “normal” life back to reality?’

This week has seen the first major shift in our living arrangements since lockdown began seven weeks ago as the Government eased measures on Wednesday. We’ve have been given permission to return to work if we working from home is not an option and some pupils may be able to return to school from the 1st of June it is hoped. So life is returning to normal, right?

It seems so. It was a happy surprise that estate agents were able to re-start in-person property viewings. Prior to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement easing lockdown on Sunday evening, the property industry’s future was unclear as they waited for the new  guidelines to be approved by the Government.

As the industry restarts, safety remains paramount and it is compulsory that homebuyers and renters wear face masks and gloves during viewings. In order to conduct a safe viewing all doors have to be left open to reduce the risk of infection and buyers and renters are advised not to touch surfaces. In addition, if agents sense or suspect anyone has a cough or infection they are allowed to refuse entry to the individual(s).

There are clearly a number of things to take into consideration before and during a viewing. It appears that as we attempt to regain some normality things maybe far from usual for some time. Formerly simply activities now carry with them detailed safety procedures and guidelines.With in-person activities still encumbered it is likely that virtual viewings will remain part of the property landscape for some time to come. Has locked down changed out mindset? Are we now afraid of readjusting and returning to normal life?

According to Guardian columnist, Polly Toynbee, we should be concerned that estate agents have been put at the heart of the British economy.

Off we go again, restarting an economy built on the quicksands of ever-inflating property wealth. After the crash of 2008, quantitative easing accelerated investment in already existing bricks and mortar, at the expense of falling investment in industry or anything else that might fuel our dismal productivity growth.”

That maybe, but the industry isn’t prepared to wait. With tens of thousands of sales frozen when lockdown was imposed so it’s no surprise that agents have gone back to work. “Dexters opened its 70 London offices on Wednesday by appointment and is now offering viewings. Knight Frank is now arranging viewings and market appraisals and will reopen its offices on Monday. Winkworth will start viewings again today and will also reopen its offices on Monday.”

For now, we must do all we can to stay safe while doing what we can to get back to work.

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