Government announce reopening of the property market
Everything you need to know about the housing market reopening
A lot has changed since we released our response to COVID-19 back in early April – with welcomed changes for the better when it comes to the housing market!
Following weeks of discussions between the government and industry leaders, it has been confirmed that lockdown measures have been relaxed for those wishing to move in England. The property market remains closed in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
We’ve outlined the key things that Britain’s buyers need to know at this time:
When lockdown measures were put in place, thousands of buyers found their journey coming to a halt, with many stuck in limbo and unable to complete on housing purchases, while all non-essential home moves were banned for buyers and renters alike.
However, the lifting of some restrictions means that home-movers are now able to travel to visit estate agents, letting agents and show homes. All these firms plus the likes of surveyors and removal companies have been given the go-ahead to reopen their offices and commence home visits, including property viewings. You can find out more about the restrictions around viewings being lifted in our recent article.
The most important thing to remember at this point is that social distancing measures will remain in place to keep everyone involved safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus .
In turn, viewings will be slightly different than they were before including a limit on how many people can be in a property at any one time; those entering will be required to maintain a 2m distance from others, and will be asked to complete a health questionnaire prior to all visits.
Due to lock restrictions around the pandemic, lenders had to reassess their deals including several being scrapped or lenders only offering loans to those with larger deposits. However, some of the country’s biggest lenders have also started reopening their doors over the last few weeks, making it easier for budding buyers to get a home loan.
We have already seen announcements about mortgage deals from lenders such as Nationwide, Halifax, Santander and Virgin Money which you can find out more about in our recent article.
Homes on the market
Most estate agents have either been closed throughout lockdown or had to dramatically change the way they operate with much smaller teams of agile workers. While firms have been given the green light to reopen their offices as of Wednesday 13th May, it may take some time for them to get fully back up and running.
In the meantime, they will begin prioritising the tenancies and sales they already have in process. This will mean following up on viewing requests they haven’t been able to fully action and reconnecting with conveyancers to get progress reports on sales.
If you are thinking of selling a home, we would recommend that you make contact with agents to kick-start the conversation but it’s worth remembering that there will likely be a delay in the marketing your property. If you’re looking to sell a Shared Ownership home, you will need to make your housing association aware in the first instance so it would be worth flagging this with them now.
You would usually be asked to meet with your estate agent and conveyancer when buying or selling a home so that the relevant ID checks can be performed to help prevent money laundering.
However, in order to minimise the amount of physical contact during this time, certain process including the signing of contracts and identity checks may be moved online. If this is the case, the firm involved will be able to guide you through the process to make sure all goes as smoothly as possible.
Searching for a home
For renters, buyers and sellers alike – it’s fantastic news that the housing market has reopened its doors. While it may take some time for all firms and providers to get back up and running, it’s a step in the right direction for all involved.
- Start looking into your finances and get organised – you can even use our mortgage calculator to get an idea if you can afford the mortgage you want.
- Research the Shared Ownership and Help to Buy schemes to find out which is the best route for you – you can find out everything you need to know via our Guides & FAQs, as well as our handy article index.
- Search for the different types of homes available in your area – on our property portal, you can start looking for homes that meet your requirements including deposit amount, monthly outgoings and scheme type.
- Register your interest in properties you like the look of – many providers will be offering in-person viewings now, but there are also plenty of floorplans and virtual tours that you can check out online in the meantime.
Share to Buy is a one stop shop for affordable homes. On our website, you can search for properties, read up on the mortgage process and find out all you need to know about alternative home buying schemes using our FAQs and guides.