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Property Goes Online As Coronavirus Changes The Game


The UK property industry is racing to transform itself into an online industry, as the coronavirus limits normal business.

The latest in an ever-lengthening list of physical events transformed into online happenings comes with the transformation of the traditional open day into a virtual meet-and-greet.

Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium has cancelled this week’s launch of 80 townhouses and apartments at New Cross in Manchester’s Northern Gateway district, replacing it with a digital launch.

Those who register for the digital launch will receive the full launch price list, brochures, digital assets and a video of what would have been on show at the physical event. The sales team at BuyAssociation is also taking calls and video meetings

Property businesses with an existing online offer are, if not quite celebrating, then justifiably congratulating themselves on being well placed.

Max Mason, head of sales for Lambert Smith Hampton’s online auction business, is expecting a slight increase in sales volumes as traditional ballroom auctions get cancelled.

"By being online we have much greater flexibility around our sale dates," he said. "We therefore usually stick to a fortnightly schedule, however we can amend this schedule in a reactive way in order to optimise our service. Right now, whilst we have not withdrawn any properties from the market, we have delayed a few auctions by one or two weeks in order to allow bidders more time to prepare.

“In the last 2 weeks (since 2 March) we have had 12,216 page views on our lots with 6,037 in the last week alone. This is actually an increase on our February figures when we had 4,012 page views per week.”

Sales are slated for late March, with five properties already listed, then for early April and late April.

Property auction specialist Acuitus has converted its 26 March sales in London into a 'multichannel' event with buyers able to bid on each lot by phone, online or through a proxy lodged previously with the auctioneer.