Housing Market Open For Business

Since the end of March this year, the housing market has been at an almost complete standstill, with physical viewings being made impossible to carry out due to the Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown.

This last week has seen the encouraging news that the Government has now revealed plans to get the housing market back up and running, to the relief of around 450,000 people who are currently looking to buy, sell and rent. Property purchases that have had to be put on hold has amassed a staggering £82bn freeze on the market.

Thankfully, estate agents are now back open, all viewings can be carried out following social distancing guidelines and removal firms (yay) and conveyancers can also get back to business.

As expected, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said these changes must be carried out under strict social distancing and safety guidelines. Anyone that has been advised to self-isolate should continue to do so and not move home.

“Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals,” Mr Jenrick said. “This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”

Questions have been asked over how this could work safely during the viewing process to ensure people remain safe, particularly when the existing owners/tenants are still at home. Digital viewings will remain an option and may continue to be a popular method of viewing for more concerned viewers.

Meanwhile, however, the property markets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have stayed closed. Viewings are not permitted under lockdown regulations and their land registries are either running a reduced service or are not currently registering transactions.

A Real Test For Movers

The opening of the housing sector market in England with be a real test now as to whether there will be a long-term impact on housing prices and supply and demand. The stark reality is, however, that people who were in a position to move at the beginning of the year may now have had their finances compromised.

We will not be surprised if firmer negotiating over price becomes the new normality.  Getting a mortgage could be more difficult in the coming weeks and months as lenders consider their strategy to protect their respective banks. People will be looking much harder for ways to haggle down a price if it means they get the home they want.

The government has also outlined other measures to get the house building sector moving, including:

  • Allowing builders to agree more flexible working hours with their local council, such as staggering arrival times to ease pressure on public transport
  • Enabling local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media, instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets
  • Providing support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils to ease cash flow
  • The new guidance includes the permission for tradespeople to operate in homes, providing they follow social distancing advice.

Gearing Up For The Move

With all the negativity surrounding potential moves out of the way, it’s important to remember that if you are chain free or are ready to buy with a mortgage approval in place, you are in a strong position. Read through our other blogs and top tips for moving so that you can prepare for the big day.

Express Removals’ expert team are on hand to answer any questions that you may have about your upcoming or prospective move, feel free to pick our brains and see how we can get you into your new house sooner whilst staying within the social distancing guidelines.

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