Western Europe Update
As of June 8, 2020
Denmark: Slowly reopening. No specific restrictions on RE. Schools in session. Interest rates returning to level before pandemic. Sales down 25% but picking up. Buyers are out but not much inventory. Summer homes are selling since people are thinking other travel may not happen, esp. abroad. Banks have increased down payment required from 5% to 10%. Buyers are more serious. Only looking at what they are really interested in. Viewings are done with distance and no touching. Lots of sanitizer. No Open houses. Meetings over 10 illegal. Market fairly stable. May have 3–10% reduction in the future but impossible to predict.
Norway: Activity maintained. Essential service. Sales are happening but have declined 35-40%. Good activity in spite of lockdown. Mortgage rate have been lowered. Banks are lending. Showings with distance and sanitizer. Must verify no illness. Do not touch anything in home. Use digitalization as much as possible. Prices fell 1.4% in March.
Finland: Situation is not nearly as bad as in US. Schools set to reopen in mid May but country is still in lockdown with borders closed. Real Estate activity is pretty good after initial dip. Only down 18%. Prices have not dipped. Agents are working overtime but have not noticed decline in personal business. No Open Houses. Private showings with distance and no touching anything. Maximum of 10 people in any place. Virtual Open Houses are being used. Transactions can be done completely virtually. People over 70 must stay home so they are not listing homes.
Sweden: Market is doing well. But no foreign buyers. No overlapping showings. Lots of sanitizer and hand washing. Transactions are slower. First-quarter had rising prices +6 % – 7%. Last 2 weeks of March are down -15%. That trend is continuing. Agents think they have a SURPLUS of inventory and not enough buyers so prices may decline. Future depends on how long the pandemic continues.
France: Country is closed. Hoping to partially open May 11. R E Offices closed to public. Agents can go to offices but with social distance. Cannot meet clients. Transactions in progress are mostly being closed but only if paperwork was already complete. Sales are down 66%. Moving companies mostly closed. This makes moving impossible. 65% of sales are blocked by this. All real estate activity stopped March 17. Future uncertain depending on what happens after release date of May 11. However, most RE agents will continue to work from home.
Andorra: After 1 month close, Andorra RE is back to work. Virtual tours are being used more now.
Germany: Brokerage offices are allowed to open gradually. Showings allowed with strict rules. Digitalization is being greatly expanded.
Austria: Also getting ready to open up. Getting more digitized. North Carolina will be signing their MOU virtually. It had been planned for DC.
Portugal: Complete lockdown. Lots of webinars. And working virtually. Current situation will impact demand. Significant price adjustment is not expected but a rapid recovery is. There is still a shortage in supply. Demand from foreign investors is expected to pick up quickly. International investors are still very interested in Portugal. Portugal’s quick response to the pandemic has received international acclaim and trust in Portuguese government is high. Social isolation is still recommended. The main worry is the lack of tourism for a country like Portugal that is very dependent on tourism. the Golden visa situation stays the same as 2019, they wanted to cancel it in big cities like Lisbon and Porto so it would bring more economic power to small cities…but as the economy might go thru a crisis again it is definitely best to keep it the way it.
Italy: Complete Lockdown. Lots of webinars. Working virtually. The lockdown through the end of April but perhaps longer. Regarding real estate, there is nothing going on as they are not considered essential services. Just doing what the other countries are doing, virtual showings, and reaching out to their partnerships in other counties. Our partner OID doing a virtual RENE pre designation course which will be followed by an in-classroom one.
Spain: Lockdown will continue through the second week of May. SIRA is doing webinars every day of the week. Although in lockdown they are still doing closings.
Belgium: Belgium is in complete lockdown, Real Estate is NOT considered an essential business, showings are not allowed, client visits are not allowed, prospecting is forbidden as well as taking pictures.
Hence they are even not allowed to do inspections upon move in or move out. Moving is allowed with a limited number of movers all keeping care of social distancing. Conducting virtual tours, meeting, and training.
Everyone works from home, the ones that have virtual tours that where taken before the lockdown, can still show property virtually but even for a rental people want to see the real thing before signing contracts.
HOA meetings are suspended and not allowed, HOA boards that needed to be replaced by vote are extended and voting will take place after the lockdown.
Borders are closed.
The Netherlands: A bit more lenient than Belgium. Later to go in lockdown. After thousands of deaths, they changed the rules. A large number of businesses went in lockdown, but RE seems to be still able to show homes to 1 person at a time. And virtual tours are being allowed to record. The Dutch RE profession seem to hold ground. Conducting virtual tours, meeting, and training.
UK & Ireland: Both Ireland and UK are not essential services and are basically on lockdown except for virtual showings at this time. We did a three-country webinar : (Feel free to share}.
Jim shared our COVID-19 showing forms and contract riders for when they start back up.