New build – in the time of a pandemic crisis


20 May 2020

The start of 2020 saw the residential property market beginning to flourish with public confidence returning and transactions significantly increasing. 

House builders were marketing new build plots in increased numbers and there was a steady stream of new people showing an interest in buying new build again. Who could have predicted that within a few short months there could be such a dramatic change with the new build market effectively grinding to a halt?

Selling agents, site offices and solicitors alike moved the conveyancing process from their offices to their lounges, dining rooms and home studies working collaboratively to keep the process alive and to achieve completions for our clients.

As a firm we have gathered, analysed and followed the advice the Government and our regulatory bodies to keep our clients moving.

New contract clauses have been negotiated to give clients and developers flexibility, and we have developed ways to achieve completion wherever possible. The increased use of technology for identity verification and the adaptation of the rules regarding witnessing of documents are just a few of the changes that have had to be considered and adapted in a short period of time.

We have also seen developers adapting to meet the changing landscape for example by extending exchange deadlines, virtual home tours and agreeing to clauses which provide certainty in uncertain times.

Since the restrictions on movement were relaxed on 12 May 2020 site offices have reopened and viewings are taking place under social distancing requirements. We have seen increased activity in the new build sector with selling agents and site offices reporting increased levels of transactions.

Whilst it has undoubtedly been a challenging few weeks and months, what is beginning to emerge is an opportunity for the sector to innovate further and change the face of how new build properties are marketed, sold and then progressed.

At Birketts we have a specialist team who offer a full range of services to new build property buyers from first time buyers using Help to Buy schemes to those involved in a chain of property transactions or even investors. Our new build sector is supported by construction, planning and tax specialists so that our clients have a full service offering in one place.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at May 2020.