The Land Registry, the public register of all real estate, states that Covid-19 has not yet had a major impact on the housing market. The greatest effect is visible in the exploratory phase of the search for a new home. The fact that the effect is still greatest at this stage is logical. The purchase and sale process of a property takes several months and sometimes longer. As a result, estate agents are currently finalising the transactions of a few months ago.
After 12 March, the date on which Covid measures were introduced, the number of applications received by the Land Registry from prospective home buyers who were exploring their options halved. These applications are a good indicator in order to measure the interest in homes on the market. "Prospective buyers pay €2.95 for information about the property they are interested in, such as the last selling price or the dimensions of the property," says Paul de Vries, property market expert at the Land Registry. In the regions where Covid spread most rapidly, the number of applications fell the most. "The number of applications is currently on the rise again, but it is not yet at the level it was before 12 March", says De Vries. Purchases and deed of ownership In the next phase of the buying process, the effects of the pandemic are already declining. When buying a property, the estate agent draws up the purchase agreement. They also request information from the Land Registry for this purpose. The number of applications by real estate agents fell slightly after 12 March. However, according to De Vries it is too early to draw any conclusions from this.
The transaction does not take place until the buyer moves in, as will the registration of the deed of ownership. This delay affects the figures that are now being communicated. It takes time to measure the effect of the pandemic on the number of transactions. The number of registrations has already declined, but the Land Registry suspects that this has nothing to do with the pandemic. Last year, the number of transactions was also low during the same period.
Land Registry figures show that many notaries are not yet seeing any effect on the number of exchanges. The reason for this is that many appointments are planned weeks in advance. However, more homeowners are renewing their mortgages. De Vries: "Many people probably still want to do this in the short term, because they are afraid that the mortgage rate will rise in the coming period."
Sources: VBO Makelaar, Nu.nl en Kadaster