What’s next for property market in England?

The announcement from government today creates a huge amount of uncertainty for home movers looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

While on the face of it, the government continues to encourage people to attend work and continue with our daily lives in a Covid-secure way, what does a crackdown on the fight against Coronavirus mean for the booming property market?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was clear that the plans outlined in Parliament this lunchtime are not a return to the dark days of March.

The restrictions, which apply to England only include

  • All office workers who can work from home are now being encouraged to do so. Where it is not possible people should continue to attend their covid-secure workplaces. Johnson talked specifically about the construction industry so we can expect this to continue to operate.
  • From Thursday all pubs bars and restaurants must operate table service only; and together with all hospitality venues they must close at 10pm
  • It will be compulsory for all staff in retail, all users of taxis, staff and customers in indoor hospitality (unless seated at a table) to wear a mask at all times.
  • The Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations, and business can and will, be fined upto £10,000 and/or closed for non compliance.
  • A tightening of the Rule of 6, will see wedding ceremonies and receptions limited to 15 people. Upto 30 may attend a funeral.
  • Rule of 6 extended to all indoor team sports
  • All large gatherings, including business conferences and large sporting events cannot reopen at this stage.

The restrictions come in following yesterday’s briefing which outlined the risks of non-intervention in the upward curve of new cases being seen across England.

Without intervention, and at the current rate of new cases doubling every 7 days, the data presented showed that by mid-October there would be nearly 50,000 new cases daily, which in November could see up to 200 deaths daily as a direct result.

With the restrictions announced due to be in place for at least 6 months, it leaves many wondering what the impact will be on the property market.

Just yesterday Rightmove reported that transactions are taking up to a month longer due to what it describes as “congestion” in the sales process with lenders, conveyancers and removal businesses.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data comments:

“We’re hearing of challenges at all steps of the buying and selling process, including lenders having to deal with a higher number of mortgage applications and solicitors over their capacity, and we estimate there are nearly 40% more sales currently going through than at this time last year.”

“The temporary stamp duty holiday means that there’s more urgency than usual for the congestion to be cleared by the end of March, making it vital for buyers and sellers to work closely with their estate agent and to make sure that they’re moving fast when the ball is in their court to complete a document or answer questions.

Let us know your thoughts below.

 

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