The property market is being thawed out from its deep freeze, and surveys, valuations and house viewings can all begin again, while estate agents can reopen their offices under social distancing guidelines.
But for some buyers it will make no difference; they were moving full steam ahead in lockdown anyway.
Delyth Morris and her partner Daniel Gravelle, both 32, have had an offer accepted on their dream home that they have never stepped foot in – and even took part in a bidding war.
The second-hand, four-bedroom house in Cardiff was on the market for £300,000 with estate agent Jeffrey Ross but there were several buyers offering asking price, so they raised their bid. They are now waiting for their mortgage provider to conduct a physical valuation before they part with £305,000, for a property that they have never seen in person.
It seems they must have nerves of steel to go ahead with a house purchase during lockdown, particularly as they are in a chain and need to sell their current flat. They have been trying to sell it since last June and have had two buyers fall through.
But since lockdown, everything had clicked into place on that too. They had just accepted an offer of £147,000 (£3,000 below asking), also from a buyer who has never stepped foot in the property. “Dan recorded a video of the house on his phone,” said Ms Morris.
These sales of second-hand properties during lockdown are particularly unusual, compared to those putting deposits down on homes in new-build developments that have building guarantees and full marketing brochures.
Coronavirus froze the housing market, threw transactions into limbo and has drawn a giant, ominous question mark over the future of house prices. The Bank of England expects values to fall by 16pc. But a minority of buyers have been forging ahead with their purchases against all the odds.
Are they crazy? Ms Morris is sanguine. Their agent used virtual viewings to market their properties. “We know the area and we [want to stay] there long enough for the economy to bounce back,” said Ms Morris. “Plus it is two of us in lockdown in a one-bedroom flat at the moment, so we really do want to move.” Her friend is also buying a house she has never seen.
They are not the only ones taking the plunge sight unseen. Agents at Knight Frank have just completed the sale of a one-bedroom apartment in 35 Old Queen Street, a boutique development in St James’s Park, London. Off the back of just one virtual viewing, the buyer spent £2.5m.