Property market restart in England
After months of forced inactivity, we could witness a property market restart in England.
The government has published its plans to kickstart the English property market, letting estate agents get back to work.
Within the government’s plans for a property market restart are allowing viewings to take place, with removal companies and conveyancers getting back to work.
According to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, property viewings and removals must take place in line with social distancing and safety rules. He said:
Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals.
This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.
Since the onset of the lockdown, an estimated 450,000 property buyers and renters have placed their plans on hold.
Limited property market restart
Despite a property market restart in England, the property markets in other parts of the United Kingdom remain shut.
In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, property viewings are still not permitted. In these nations, land registry services are running a reduced service or not registering property transactions.
Despite the English property market restarting, there are widespread fears of significant house price falls.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research is forecasting a UK-wide fall of 13%, due to a lack of transactions, high uncertainty and falling incomes.
Estate agent Savills is slightly less pessimistic, predicting a market drop of 5% this year.
Regional house price changes could differ from these national averages.
Reopening the property market in England is likely to restart a lot of stalled transactions, but it seems likely it will take some time to rebuild confidence in the housing market.
Homeowners seem unlikely to want prospective buyers to physically view their properties, with continued fears of spreading the virus.