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Thoughts from the furloughed side lines

Published: 07/05/2020

Spencer, Manager of our Burnham Market office, talks about being furloughed and what he anticipates will happen with regards to the property market in Norfolk.


As you might expect with a close nit family firm such as Sowerbys, even though the majority of us are on furlough inevitably we still spend a great deal of time chatting to members of our ‘work family.’ Not only this but after we have discussed the various merits of red onion chutney, sourdough and spatchcocking our conversations inevitably drift towards what is happening with the market and speculation of what will happen when movement restrictions lighten. What has become increasingly evident from these chats is that there is clearly a wave of pent up demand building in the background.

Those on the Sowerbys team that remain fully employed have found themselves, without exception, inundated with telephone calls asking very specific questions about specific properties and buyers registering their intent to view as soon as they are able. Alongside these calls there are also e-mail enquiries but the volume has definitely shifted away from the impersonal keyboard contact toward the very personal telephone call. Clearly we all have more time on our hands enabling us to talk more freely but the overlying trend of these calls is how serious these potential buyers are. Gone are the often vague requirements of our more usual second home or holiday let buyers to be replaced with buyers of purpose and conviction.

Such a trend indicates that very soon after lockdown eases I am cautiously anticipating, in the short term, a real surge of buyers wanting to buy in Norfolk. Not only this but in the mid term and once this ‘wave’ has washed over us, I also believe that we will see a second, more gentle wave as, with holidays abroad cancelled or at best looking far less attractive, we will see a tangible increase in holidaying in the UK and as we all know in this county, where better to be on holiday if you can’t or don’t want to go abroad, than the stunning North Norfolk coast? For us in Burnham Market our busiest sales months are most often July and August and, provided movement permits, I can only see that footfall increasing substantially this year.

Finally one of the biggest changes we are anticipating from these calls is a move away from the second home and an increase in main home buyers. The lessons of lockdown have undoubtably brought about a change of priorities in many homes and a realisation that city living and commuting distances are no longer the location critical factors they once were.

As such do not be surprised if the ripple effect out from the coast and across the whole county is felt as those with a deep emotive affection for Norfolk discover new parts of the county where they wish to come and live not just for the holidays but forever.