BREAKING NEWS: Property Market Reopen From Today

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced plans for the UK to safely move home, from today, as long as social distancing advice is followed.

Estate agents’ offices can reopen, buyers are free to view properties, show homes can reopen and removal companies and surveyors are able to complete their work with immediate effect.

As has been previously reported, stakeholders in the home buying and selling process will need to adapt their working practices to ensure social distancing is maintained. This could include space planning, staggered office working and ensuring all property viewings are safe by wearing PPE and ensuring the property is deep cleaned following viewings.

Whilst this ‘new normal’ may take some getting used to, with around 400,000 homes ready to resume their delayed transaction, the sector should ready itself for a well earned busy period.

A new safe working Charter has also been launched which outlines how construction sites can operate safely. This includes extended construction hours to allow builders more flexible working which should reduce the numbers on site and minimise the numbers using public transport.

Local councils and developers are being encouraged to publicise planning applications using social media and smaller developers are being allowed to defer payments to local councils in a bid to help with cashflow issues.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“Today I am announcing new guidelines to allow the housing market to resume. Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process from viewings to removals.

“Our step by step plan is based on the latest guidance to ensure the safety and protection of everyone involved.

“This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark comment:

“It’s great news for consumers and the industry that the housing market is being opened up and people can let, rent, buy and sell properties again. The new regulations provide clarity to agents and will allow them to deal with pent up demand from consumers. It’s also a step to reinvigorating the housing market and will be a boost to the economy. Safety of course will be paramount, and we would encourage everyone to ensure that they follow Government guidelines closely to protect others and themselves.”

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said:

“Over the past week or so many house builders have commenced a gradual return to work, in a structured way that ensures the safety of its workforce and the general public.

“The industry sustains hundreds of thousands of people in numerous roles and associated sectors, boosting local economies across the country. A resumption of work will play a major part in helping the economy recover as well as delivering the homes the country needs.

“It should also provide the supply chain with the confidence it needs to accelerate its own restart. The Charter is the public facing evidence which supports the very detailed protocols individual builders now have in place to ensure safe working on sites.”

John Newcomb, Chief Executive Office of the Builders Merchants Federation, said:

“Safety has the highest priority as the industry returns to work. Over the past three weeks, since the publication of new branch operating guidelines, we have seen increasing numbers of merchants safely re-opening or expanding operations to support their trade customers.

“House builders structured return to site provides even more confidence within the supply chain, and provides further evidence of the construction industry’s determination to assist in the recovery of the UK economy.”

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