Government plans to relieve the restrictions on moving home

The Government has announced plans to relieve restrictions on moving home, which were imposed as part of their response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Further to our recent comments regarding the position of lettings, the shared ownership market has still been active due to the benefit of a large part of this market being new builds.

With a view to re-starting the second hand Housing Market, which almost completely halted during the UK’s lockdown, the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, confirmed in a speech to the Commons on 12 May that people will now be entitled to view properties for both purchase and rental purposes, and move into those properties, provided that the moving process remains compliant with social distancing measures.

The announcement will come as welcome news to hundreds of thousands of potential buyers and renters across the country, as the media has estimated that around 450,000 people have placed their moving plans on hold since the lockdown began on 23 March. Property website Zoopla has estimated that the transactions have a combined value of £82 billion.

It has been reiterated by Robert Jenrick that the release of restrictions is a ‘step-by-step plan ’, which is ‘based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved ’. Amongst those first steps are the following relaxed measures:

  • Estate Agents and removal firms can re-open, and properties can be viewed in person by potential buyers and renters;
  • Show homes can re-open for the viewings of new-build properties;
  • Construction workers can return to sites, with some sites running on extended hours to ensure that social distancing remains achievable, and to relieve pressure on public transport;
  • Local Councils and Developers are now able to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets;
  • Smaller developers may be allowed to defer payments to Local Councils, which will help those companies who are struggling with their cash flow;
  • Tradespeople, including fitters, may now operate inside homes, provided that they do in strict compliance with social distancing measures.

In relation to all of the above steps, the Government has made it clear that all guidance from Public Health England must continue to be followed, for example, anyone who has been advised to self-isolate should continue to do so and should not move home for the time being. If the relaxed measures prove to be unsuccessful and the rate of infection begins to increase once more, the housing market could again be placed on hold.

In relation to the new build part of the market, the use of virtual viewings and electronic communication has played a huge part in reservations and this is still ongoing. It is hoped that with the introduction of the above measures, those transactions dependent upon second hand property sales will be able to move forward.

It is important that the position on misrepresentation and clear information are followed, with the move to an increase in differing platforms for customer engagement and to avoid potential delays or obstacles to the sale process.

For any queries in relation to new build sales or staricasing and resale matters, please contact our Development Sales team.

If you are planning to move home and would like some advice on the process, or have otherwise agreed an offer and need to begin the Conveyancing process, please do not hesitate to visit dedicated strength page, or contact one of our specialists to discuss how we are able to assist you.

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