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The Government estimates that over 450,000 property sales and lettings have been halted since the restrictions on viewings and house moves were imposed back in March, but new guidance in England this week means estate agents, removal companies and conveyancers can get back to work. This is not the case for the rest of the UK where the property markets remain paused.
Previously, parties were told to avoid completing transactions unless the properties were vacant or tenants were remaining in situ, meaning the majority of house moves have come to a standstill over the past 7 weeks. The new rules are subject to strict social distancing measures including Sellers waiting outside during viewings and wiping down surfaces and door handles before and after viewings. Estate agents are also being urged to host virtual viewings wherever possible and in the first instance.
The new measures will also see show homes reopening and construction of new builds getting back underway with extended working hours for construction staff to allow staggered shifts and social distancing whilst working. Surveyors and valuers will also able to enter homes which is another vital cog in the wheel to get the housing market moving again.
The announcement is especially good news for Buyers and Sellers who were part way through the conveyancing process but where completion had to be pushed back due to Covid-19. It is likely some chains may still be affected, however, by those who are continuing to self-isolate or shield. Of course, the relaxed rules could be changed again depending on the rate of infection in the coming weeks but hopefully the new guidance announced by the Housing Secretary this week will mean the housing market in England will begin to accelerate.
The full Government guidance can be found here.
If you are looking to move house and want expert advice before you proceed, then please speak to our Residential Conveyancing team by calling 0808 1685 643, fill out an online enquiry form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch to help get you moving.