Share to Buy Expert Sessions: Your questions about buying during COVID-19
Buying a home during coronavirus
How are viewings currently taking place amidst social distancing measures?arrow_downward
As of Wednesday 13th May, the housing market has reopened and bans on property viewings and valuations has be lifted. As long as social distancing measures are in place, people will now be permitted to travel to visit estate agents, lettings agents and show homes. House buyers will also be allowed to view residential properties that they wish to buy or rent.
Is it worth going through the buying process during COVID-19? I'm concerned as physical valuation can't take place which is resulting in mortgages being put on hold.arrow_downward
Response from Catalyst – Absolutely, we actually saw an increase in buyer enquiries in April compared to March, so if you want to have your “pick of the plots” then you are best to put yourself in the position to do so now and try to avoid any rush that may happen once marketing suites re-open.
In regards to mortgages, the mortgage market is still very competitive and rates are at all-time lows, so not only can you lock in a good mortgage product but some lenders have switched to desktop valuations. If not then we are still reserving properties subject to valuation when surveyors start attending site
Will I be able to move into a new home while we're still in lockdown?arrow_downward
Response from Catalyst – Yes, we have ensured that we’re abiding by the social distancing rules whilst completing on the sales of new homes, so whilst a contactless key handover is not the ideal as we love welcoming people into their new homes and watching them open their front door for the first time, we are still able to help people fulfil the dream they have been waiting for.
What will happen about applying for a mortgage on furlough wages?arrow_downward
Response from Catalyst – Lender criteria is varied on this but in the main most lenders will use the 80% of furlough income which is okay so long as it fits affordability.
Can I still apply for a Shared Ownership mortgage if I've been furloughed but still earning same wage? Will they accept the last three moths of statements even if we've been in lockdown?arrow_downward
Response from Censeo Financial – In both cases the answer to this is yes. You will be assessed on your current wage, and the last three statements will be what is asked for regardless of lockdown
Is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting availability of mortgages?arrow_downward
Some of the country’s biggest lenders have started reopening their doors making it easier for budding buyers to get a home loan.
Due to lockdown restrictions around the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lenders had to reassess their deals including several being scrapped or lenders only offering loans to those with larger deposits. However, we’ve recently seen a number of lenders now making it easier for purchasers to qualify for a loan. Read our update on mortgage lending here.
If you are hoping to apply for a mortgage in the near future then we would recommend you contact a competent and experienced Shared Ownership mortgage broker who will be able to advise on the current situation for each lender.
How is the pandemic affecting lenders willingness to offer mortgages and the size of deposits required?arrow_downward
Many lenders have restricted loan-to-values or paused lending in the main new-build max LTV is 85% – but if buying with Help to Buy or Shared Ownership then the deposit is much less and so less restrictive
I want to reserve a home that's still in the construction phase. It was due to be completed but has been delayed due to COVID-19. Should I hold off until works are completed or should I proceed?arrow_downward
Response from Southern Home Ownership – Speak to the housing association to find out when they are expecting your home to be completed. Bare in mind that this will still only be an estimate and is likely to be subject to change.
However, if you are prepared to wait for your home and feel comfortable proceeding then the housing association will keep in regular contact with you and provide you with updates on the progress of your home.