Following the publication of detailed guidance from the Government on 12 May, the housing market in England has been given the green light to safely re-open operations under the next phase of coronavirus pandemic management.
Essential housing industry services
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced new guidelines covering every aspect of the sales and letting process which aim to enable people to move home safely. Estate agents, removal firms, conveyancing solicitors and surveyors have been detailed as among the essential housing industry services who can now resume their work.
Property plans on hold
According to the property portal Zoopla, since the end of March, 373,000 transactions have been on hold, and newly agreed sales down by 90%. The BBC has estimated that 450,000 buyers and renters have put their property plans on hold.
It is now lawful to visit estate agents, residential developer sale offices or show homes, to view residential properties for the purposes of buying or renting, and to move house.
Rachael Hughes, Hatch Brenner Residential Property Conveyancing Executive commented: “The Hatch Brenner conveyancing team has remained accessible whilst working from home in the first phase of lockdown. We now welcome the opportunity for transactions that have been stalled awaiting moving dates to progress to completion. We have clients who have been patiently waiting for this having finalised their property sale or purchase but have not been able to arrange a moving date until now. We also expect to see new properties entering the housing market, with enquiries from people who have emerged from the initial lockdown period with plans to move house and alter their circumstances; for instance to include a garden, proximity to relatives, access to the countryside, or a spare room for a home office.
“As we have started seeing across the economy, this will be a ‘new normal’ with more virtual viewings, meetings and technology-driven transactions. We are well placed to offer this to our conveyancing clients.”
It will be paramount for all related housing market businesses to follow the strict guidelines on operating a Covid-secure, safe working environment for their employees, clients and third parties and that the relevant risk assessments and social distancing practices are adhered to. Housing Secretary Mr Jenrick has stressed that guidance from Public Health England must continue to be followed; for example, anyone advised to self-isolate should continue to do so and not move home. The housing sector re-opening remains dependent on the coronavirus outbreak staying under control.
For the detailed Government Housing Market guidance see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
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