A Nottingham-based housebuilder is optimistic that the property market will survive the Coronavirus pandemic after an increase in viewings.
Peter James Homes, which has an office in Chilwell, has opened up its sites to prospective buyers now that lockdown restrictions have eased – and the firm has seen a steady increase in interest in new homes, which echoes the national picture.
Recent news reports detail that some builders and estate agents have seen a threefold increase in bookings in the final week of last month compared with the same time last year.
Rightmove said that within 24 hours of restrictions being lifted, more than five million prospective buyers visited the site – a four percent increase on the same day in 2019. Peter James Homes bosses say they are hopeful that the market will get back on track, amid the ‘new normal’.
Dan Straw, 38, and his partner Nick Penlington, 36, donned face coverings and disposable gloves to visit the William H Brown office in West Bridgford, to choose their furnishing and fixture options for their new home on Peter James Homes’ Hunters Wood site in Gedling. They chose from brands including Mackintosh kitchens, Silestone worktops, Porcelanosa wall tiles and Amtico flooring, which come as standard on the development.
The couple, of Arnold, had a virtual tour of the property, the four-bedroom The Elm, in February and then paid a reservation fee before lockdown hit.
Describing how Coronavirus affected the sale, Dan, a chief customer officer for a HR software company, said: “Things had gone a bit slower, but since the restrictions have been lifted, we have been able to go back and see the property.
“We have been to the William H Brown office to choose things like the kitchen and tiles. We did that last week in full PPE.
“Rather than apprehension due to the virus, our feelings were more of excitement of buying a new house. It’s exciting to feel progress is being made again.”
And things are moving faster than originally anticipated – Dan, and Nick, a learning and development manager for Boots’ international business, hope to be moved in by early September. Their original date was in October.
Dan said the couple chose Hunters Wood for “the location and quality of the house. The builder we are using is really top-end. It supports our lifestyle in terms of our next home – we want to be closer to the countryside.” He praised Peter James Homes for their “great communication” throughout lockdown.
Dan said he was surprised that viewings nationally had increased, adding: “I would have expected people to be a bit more cautious. How quickly people have got out there and looked at the market surprises me.”
Simon Gardiner, managing director of Peter James Homes, said: “We are delighted to have been able to re-open our sites and resume construction work, with safety precautions in place, as well as to welcome buyers and prospective buyers back to view homes.
“Initial signs indicate that the housing market will pull itself up by the bootstraps after the virus crisis. We are confident that buyers are still keen to get on with the new homes process.”
To find out more, visit www.peterjameshomes.co.uk