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Welsh govt’s ‘piecemeal’ plans to open housing market will damage economy, warns CA

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  • 23/06/2020
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Welsh govt’s ‘piecemeal’ plans to open housing market will damage economy, warns CA
The Welsh government has come under fire from the Conveyancing Association (CA) for taking a “piecemeal” approach to reopening the housing market that it argues will cause continued suffering to property businesses and the economy.

 

The CA is urging the government to speed up its plans to restart the Welsh property market, which is already lagging six weeks behind England.

As Mortgage Solutions reported yesterday, Wales’s property market was allowed to begin operating again this week but under the weight of several restrictions.

 

Limited movement

All house moves can go ahead where the residential property has been vacant for at least 72 hours. House moves can take place where a sale has been agreed but not yet completed.

The marketing and viewing of unoccupied residential property can take place. Valuations and inspections of occupied residential property are allowed but should be done so safely and in line with the Welsh Government’s guidance on working in someone’s home.

But the CA believes these reopening measures do not go far enough because the government has specifically said house moves where the residential property is occupied are still not able to go ahead.

Estate agents are able to market these properties but are only allowed to carry out virtual viewings. A further review of the measures will take place in three weeks putting the Welsh market two months behind England.

The CA argues this would cause a significant and ongoing impact on Welsh property businesses, particularly conveyancing firms and estate agents that are only active in Wales.

Lloyd Davies, operations director of the Conveyancing Association, said: “The English housing market has now benefited from having been open for over six weeks longer than its Welsh counterpart, and it seems clear that for every day the Welsh Government takes its current piecemeal approach, the Welsh property market, all stakeholders, consumers and the entire Welsh economy will continue to suffer.”

 

Market data

Figures from TwentyCi for the English property market showed higher levels of new instructions and properties sold subject to contract (SSTC) than in 2019.

In the third week of June, both were up by 15 per cent on 2019 with 36,793 new property listings and 29,383 SSTC cases.

The Welsh housing market, however, is running at far below its 2019 norm. New instructions were 40 per cent down, and sold properties were 51 per cent down on 2019.

Davies added: “We understand why the Welsh government is adopting a cautious approach to the Covid-19 pandemic but there are incredibly tight protocols in place for English properties which keep all parties as safe as possible, and there is a real danger by not adopting these, and going further and faster than its current approach, that the impact on Welsh housing market stakeholders will be even more devastating.

“At present, and even with this partial reopening, we are well behind the English market, and with any new transactions likely to take 16 weeks to complete, the impact on the Welsh economy to be able to restart effectively will be damaged severely.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “The coronavirus regulations are in place in Wales to protect the health of people living and working in Wales and to reduce the spread of the virus. They are reviewed every 21 days, in line with the law, and based on the latest scientific and medical evidence. Changes will be made when it is safe to do so. Our focus is on protecting people’s health and saving lives.”

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