By Paloma Harrington-Griffin – Home Staging Association UK & Ireland
We all remember 2008, when house prices plummeted by 16 per cent, suffering their biggest drop on record until then.
The effects of coronavirus on the property market are now starting to show. Experts don’t necessarily predict 2008 to happen again, however, Capital Economics downgraded their property price forecast for 2020 by five percentage points and expect a fall of 3 per cent this year.
In times when the only certainty is that things will stay uncertain for a while, much of the conversation has been around the stock market or bailouts for large corporations. Coronavirus’ most severe impacts, however, are being felt on the High Street and small businesses around the country, and those who work directly with the property industry are no exception.
The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland interviewed some of its members to understand the different impact coronavirus has on their businesses.
Natalie Evans, of Fareham-based Little Barn Door, focuses mainly on preparing properties for the 70+ market and has been facing a drop on their workload due to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 virus.
“My biggest challenge so far has been finding how to fulfil bookings for elderly or “vulnerable” clients who have self-isolated or being protected from the Covid-19 virus. One of the developments that I work with have closed the doors to all external visitors, which means I can’t get in to stage or de-stage! The jobs haven’t been lost, but just cannot physically be fulfilled at this time”.
Fellow Home Staging Professionals are facing other challenges, such as making sure their staff is still getting paid whilst new projects have been temporarily suspended.
“With the drop in property viewings and with buyers holding off spending money, many projects have been put on hold. As much as now would be the perfect time for homeowners to benefit from Home Staging when putting their properties on the market, many are simply waiting to make a move”, says Paloma Harrington-Griffin, Founder of the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland and Vice-President of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals in Europe.
Whilst some Home Staging companies rely on homeowners directly, others, who have a different approach to Staging, are finding this period to be just as busy as the beginning of the year.
Casa e Progetti’s owner Zaid Schuhaiber has seen the interest on Virtual Staging increase significantly in the past weeks. “We have definitely seen more interest in the Virtual Staging service that we provide. We have had 3 different property developers book in photoshoots for next week and one more developer should be confirming today”, Zaid explains. “The whole point of increasing your online exposure is massive for all businesses right now. What better way to do this in the property game than have beautiful interiors to attract people who are getting fed up with their homes, as they are spending or looking to spend the next two weeks indoors!”.
According to Zaid, Staging also helps prepare developers for the coming months and ensure that their online presence is strong, making sure the photos they are using are not replicated within plot types.
We are all suffering the impact of the virus and the changes forced upon us and our market.
Those looking to sell their properties will need Home Staging services to make sure their listings stand out and attract the few potential buyers that will be looking for new properties – now more than ever.
Sellers have one chance to grab the buyer’s attention and that is through professional images of their beautifully-presented properties.