The UK government has announced the first steps towards the reopening of the UK housing market through socially distanced methods.
Estate agents will be able to reopen and viewing will be allowed to be conducted with agents employing strict levels of social distancing with potential buyers or renters.
Removal companies will also be able to assist with people moving home which will be crucial for increased transactions in the UK housing market
The announcement will bring back some optimism to the market but is unlikely to lift activity to what it was before the lockdown.
“There’s no reason buyers or renters shouldn’t be able to move home if they are able to do so safely in accordance with social distancing guidelines so today’s announcement is welcome news,” said Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director at Ringley Group.
“However we shouldn’t pretend this means the housing market has returned to its pre-coronavirus state.”
“Lockdown is set to continue in some form for an unknown amount of time, the resulting economic disruption will likely weigh down on activity in the for sale market.”
Mary-Anne Bowring continued to call for further measures to help support the UK housing market
“A stamp duty holiday proposed by RICS and others would likely see a stampede in transactions while an extended Help to Buy will support some sales and in turn housebuilding.”
“Yet the government should think long term and introduce policies to reflect Britain’s changing housing needs. Private renters are a fast growing part of the housing market and need catering to. Yet politicians seems intent in squeezing buy to let landlords out of the rental market and the build to rent sector – a positive emergence – simply isn’t big enough yet to absorb all rental demand.”
“If the government cut stamp duty surcharge for landlords it could help stimulate the market by encouraging BTL investors to snap up homes to then rent out. Many landlords also help support housebuilding through off plan sales.”
“The housing market as whole will also have to get ready for a digital first approach to transactions as more tasks and jobs are done remotely.”