How Coronavirus has affected the Property Market: Thoughts from the Industry

The past few months have been a time of unprecedented change, with Covid-19 affecting us all personally, impacting every industry and indeed creating change around the globe. As we have started to settle into our new normal, I took the opportunity to meet up (virtually, of course) with a Monitoring Surveyor, Valuer, Lender and Solicitor to find out more about the effects Coronavirus has had on their businesses, work and the industry as a whole. 


The Monitoring Surveyor

The Monitoring Surveyor of our discussion group noted that social distancing on sites had been adhered to, with minimal on-site staff showing them in and out. Access to materials such as plaster have been problematic, but with suppliers re-starting production they are confident that this will be remedied soon. Of their 30 live sites, only 2 saw a shut-down due to Coronavirus but all are now open, with one site having 22 parties lining up to view the units prior to completion.

The Valuer

The Valuer in our discussion group has sent staff to sites, fully adhering to PPE requirements, but have found some tenants denying access. They have been able to continue to value properties, however and continue to be busy – with their industrial team being particularly in demand at present. The Valuer noted that PD schemes have mainly been retained as investments, with no current evidence of a major yield shift on larger developments. They have noted a significant uptick in quotes in the last two weeks, with cities outside London in particular picking up in activity. Sheds and beds are the key focus.

The Lender

The Lender has seen somewhat less disruption in recent months, with only 1 out of 41 sites experiencing a Covid-19 related shut down and that site is now back up and running. Recent weeks have also seen an explosion of new enquiries coming in, reminiscent of the figures they last saw in February.

The Solicitor

The Solicitor of the group mentioned that while refinances have been progressing as normal, site acquisitions saw the majority stalling albeit still moving along gradually. However, with 4 completions in the last two weeks, activity is picking up now with their residential property team very busy.  

Moving Forwards

As we move into the next phase of lockdown, a ‘new normal’ will start to emerge. With a few months of working effectively from home under their belts, the Valuer in the group believed that their numerous offices and desks could be downsized in the future with less time in the office. The Solicitors and Monitoring Surveyor agreed with that thought to a lesser extent, believing that there would continue to be a need to have a communal working location. Wherever the location, on the whole, the group agreed that green shoots are starting to be seen within the industry and are cautiously optimistic that things are starting to move once more in the right direction.

By Fintan O’Riordan, BLG’s Business Development Director.


“We have used BLG for development finance for over 8 years. During that time we have found their knowledge and expertise in the property development industry to be second to none. Their loan process, pragmatic and flexible approach to lending and flexibility when required has supported our business needs throughout the period and provided us with support to deliver new homes in Bristol and the surrounding areas.”

“As property developers you never know the curve balls that you may get and a project that is great on paper may prove a bit more tricky.  This happened to us on a project that BLG have funded and throughout they have supported us.  Our business likes to be collaborative and when we hit those tough moments it really felt like we were working as a team with BLG.  If you have a decent project you can get it funded, but what you really need is a business that is there to support and advise you as well.  For us on this project it was BLG.”

“I approached BLG Development finance with an opportunity I had in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, to build 5 new build houses in 2021. My main contact was Anil Bains who is a Director covering Asset Management. Within very quick timescales, BLG provided me with indicative quotes in regards the finance levels they could offer me. Having considered those levels, I requested a valuation to be carried out which again was dealt with swiftly. We proceeded to completion. The build went very smoothly with monthly monitoring being carried out by BLG and monthly drawdown requests dealt with in a very timely manner. Due to a difficult time generally in the market in regards selling, I was in need of a six-month extension to the loan which again was appraised very quickly and granted. Having dealt with numerous funders over the last 20 years, I can only speak highly of my personal experience with BLG and would very confidently work with them again on any future projects. “

"From our side it has also been a pleasure working with BLG and the team there. We have found you easy to deal with, proactive in resolving any minor issues that have arisen through the project and shown great flexibility in working with us as a partner. We will certainly like to work with you on future partners."

“I really appreciate your hard work. We really like the way you communicate & I must say I haven't seen many people who are that approachable.”

“A very efficient processing team, dealing with the DD once deal credit approved, through to completion”

“Many thanks for your efforts on this one and getting it approved and sorted so swiftly, very much appreciated. I am sure I will be speaking to your over the coming months.”

“We had other funding options, but chose to use BLG again, as we work well with the team, who always provide very clear information and advice with a friendly approach throughout the funding process. Very efficient and always very helpful.”

“Many thanks Anil, it’s been a real pleasure working with BLG so far.  We’re lining up the next project too”

“We would recommend all staff we have dealt with at BLG, as we are very satisfied with the team and the initial offer/terms presented, then you and the funding team, through to the draw down team at valuation stage.”

“All documents are clear and the way you keep clients informed, all the way along the funding process, is refreshing for us”

“With regard to what should be improved at BLG, we work with many lenders in our business and we do not get the help and response we have had on the two projects with all at BLG on our funding for our developments.”

“We would particularly mention Dave Edwards and Tom Pitts as being central to having a smooth working relationship and being positive and helpful at all times. Their guidance in helping us navigate the project from inception to completion was invaluable. As was their patience, particularly at the beginning. We look forward to many future projects with the BLG team.”

“We would like to express our appreciation for your support on our development in Bristol. We were very pleased that, from the outset, you shared our vision of the project to convert a dated but classical building, that had outlived its usefulness as a school, into unique luxury apartments with views overlooking the city. We found our dealings practical and streamlined. Monthly payments were processed in an efficient and timely manner.”

“BLG are very good at communicating with clients and all documents are very clear and all at BLG are always happy to help.”

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