Estate agents have seen a surge in people viewing properties online as Britain starts a three-week coronavirus lockdown.
Massive leaps in technology that allow people to experience “walk through” tours have made it easier for potential buyers or tenants to view properties.
With people told to stay indoors, people are using their extra time to browse property portals.
The increase is welcome news as the property profession faces a complete lockdown of its offices during the crisis.
Physical viewings and house moves were banned following the Prime Minister’s lockdown announcement on Monday.
As estate agents are not classed as “essential businesses” and were told to close their offices immediately by ARLA Propertymark.
James Morris-Manuel, vice-president of 3D virtual viewing tech company Matterport, said requests for its property scanning service have soared more than sevenfold over the past week.
He said: “People have suddenly realised they need to digitise assets they may not be able to access for quite a while. The UK market was watching Spain and Italy and realised that shutdowns and more aggressive forms of social distancing were coming soon and they needed to get their house in order.”
Guy Gittins, managing director of London agents Chestertons, said: “With most people being responsible and practising social distancing, we have seen a surge in the number of virtual viewings that we are conducting.
“By planning ahead, we managed to get video walk-throughs recorded for many of the properties we are marketing before the lockdown but we are also now asking landlords and sellers to use video conferencing tools to conduct live virtual viewings in their own property, with the agent talking the interested buyer or tenant through the property.”