Property market still open, and will stay open, as the second lockdown approaches
The government announced a second lockdown to come into effect on Thursday until Wednesday 2nd December. Similar to the first lockdown earlier in the year, we will be required to stay home whenever we can, only going outside when necessary, to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
All non-essential retail has been ordered to close for the duration of this period, but does that include estate agency branches? Well, in conjunction with the existing guidance, estate agents, and the housing market as a whole, agents will remain open, at least in England.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed on social media that renters and homeowners in England will be able to move and removal firms, tradespeople, and estate agents can still operate by going inside homes.
Writing on Twitter, Jenrick said: “Housing market update ahead of Thursday’s measures: Renters & homeowners will be able to move; Removal firms and estate agents can operate; Construction sites can and should continue; Tradespeople will be able to enter homes. But all must follow the Covid safety guidance.”
Jenrick added: “all parties involved should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance”.
Said guidance includes following social distancing rules, wearing PPE including masks and gloves, having sellers leave the property during a viewing, which can only last for 15 minutes, and to have as few people looking at the property as possible.
This is great news for buyers and sellers, and especially those who are still trying to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday. This summer and autumn saw a record amount of offers accepted on properties and it is a sign of faith in the property market that this will continue till the end and through to the start of next year.
For current owners struggling due to the pandemic, it has also been announced that mortgage payment holidays are to be extended for a further 6-months. Borrowers who have already reached their six-month mortgage holiday limit and are still facing difficulty will be able to apply for an extended mortgage holiday.
In Wales, all property viewings have been put on hold for the time being. Estate agent offices have been forced to shut and in-person property viewings are banned until Monday 9th November. Furthermore, it is now best practice for letting agents and landlords in Wales to carry out regular inspections in alignment with the new rules introduced in the changes to Rent Smart Wales.
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