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Housing market survives latest Covid-19 restrictions in England

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  • 05/01/2021
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Housing market survives latest Covid-19 restrictions in England
The housing market in England will remain open during the latest national lockdown, the government has confirmed.

 

The news will come as a relief to the industry which has been tackling the vast wave of people looking to move home since the first national lockdown and take up the stamp duty saving which expires on 31 March.

Industry commentators suggested this would mean no let up in the rush to move for many homebuyers.

The move announced last night mirrors those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which also tightened or extended existing restrictions yesterday but did not close the property market.

­Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the changes further limiting movements which will come into law on Wednesday but urged people to obey them from today.

It says people “must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary”.

However, moving home and undertaking activities related to this are still allowed.

“You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary,” the guidance states.

“Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

“Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering,” it adds.

As with Scotland, accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites must close, except for specific circumstances.

These include where this is someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, to provide accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.

 

‘Business as usual’

Countrywide Surveying Services, one of the largest surveyors in the UK, confirmed its operations would not be affected.

“We are pleased to confirm that Countrywide Surveying Services will be able to continue ‘normal’ service following the recent government announcement,” it said.

“Our service provision will continue to be provided under existing stringent Covid-19 secure safety protocols that we have been using for the last few months to ensure we protect everyone, customers and our people.”

Enness Global Mortgages managing director Hugh Wade-Jones, added: “It remains business as usual for the UK property market and as a result, it’s unlikely we will see any decline in the huge levels of buyer activity seen since last year, nor should we see property prices detract from their current upward trend.

“Billions of pounds in accelerated property transactions are also currently waiting to complete prior to the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31.

“It would have been a disastrous move for the government to have slammed the door in the face of these aspirational homebuyers so close to the finish line and would have no doubt caused a landslide of property transaction fall throughs and a drop in values had they done so.

“Of course, the industry must continue to operate with immense caution and all physical aspects of the home buying process itself must be met with extreme diligence to ensure the safety of all those involved.”

 

 

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