The world is currently gripped in the midst of the first recognised pandemic for over 100 years. But what affect will this have on the property? The short term picture for the overall economy in light of Covid-19 isn’t great with the stock markets taking a battering on a daily basis. The closure of schools mean that a large number of the work force won’t be able to make it into work as they have no alternative childcare, small and medium enterprises (SME’s) will come under immense pressure to keep their doors open as social distancing means that non-essential spending will be vastly curtailed with many industries such has travel, hospitality and entertainment already under pressure and facing massive losses. The GDP of most economies is falling and it is safe to say that there is a recession on its way. In the light of this it is probable that there will defiantly be less activity in the housing market and less new properties available. House prices could fall but not by much initially. The key factor in the extent of impact on the economy and the local housing market is how long the effects of the virus grip the population. It is imperative that each individual ensure that we do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable in society by implementing the social distancing and cleansing practices that have been identified as the only way to combat Covid-19. It is positive that due to the implementation of these measures that the number of infections appears to be in decline in China. If we all pull together, look after our most vulnerable, act responsibly and sensibly we could be out of the woods in a few months. There will be a recession in the wake of the outbreak but how bad a recession is linked to how long the virus grips the financial markets, work force and global economy.
It is very welcome news that the government has stated that individuals can avail of a mortgage holiday. This will take the pressure off households that have lost income due to self-isolating, having to stay at home with the schools closures or have lost their livelihood due to business failure in the face of the pandemic. It is also a welcomed announcement that no one will lose their home due to the virus and tenants cannot be evicted for not paying rent. In saying that we must all act responsibly and ensure that the damage to the economy is limited, as of when this eventually blows over we will all need business and jobs to return to. Where possible, mortgages should be paid or even changed to interest only. Rent should be paid, or at very least housing benefit claimed and paid directly to the agent. We are all in this together and need to, as far as is practical, ensure that we do not act irresponsibly and worsen the already weakened economy which will turn an inevitable recession into an avoidable depression. Your heath is your wealth but your wealth and the wealth of your neighbour is important as well.
One major help that we have not received from the government ia an emergency increase in statutory sick pay for the rest of the year. This would alleviate the hardship faced by all indviduals out of work and struggling to pay the bills. Hopefully this will be announced in the 'Boris and friends show' later in the week.
For now, social distancing will become the new norm with schools closed and many people having to work from home in an attempt to isolate the Coronavirus and prevent it’s spread. This collective social response is essential for the damage limitation the virus has on our society and will be instrumental in the recovery of our health, our social care system and our economy. Every individual has the responsibility to do their part. We look to our politicians and leaders to implement social and fiscal policies to elevate the financial strain on individuals and businesses to ensure that when we are able, we can get back to normal.
I do believe we will have a much stronger, kinder society after this. It is truly inspirational the reaction within communities throughout the globe. The human spirit is essentially a positive force that in the face of adversity brings us together to overcome any obstacle or eventuality. We are all beautiful and amazing people, Covid-19 doesn't change this.
Stay safe, look after your auld ones, think about social distancing, how you can help prevent the spread of the virus and wash your hands often.