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Coronavirus and the Property Market: Everything you need to know

Coronavirus and the Property Market: Everything you need to know

In May, the property market reopened in the UK after the government eased some of its stay-at-home measures.

Estate agents have been allowed to reopen their offices, viewings have restarted with social distancing measures in place, and you’re finally allowed to move home again.

Below we have answered some of your frequently asked questions about coronavirus and the property market, and what happens next.

 

Can property viewings take place during lockdown?

They can. Following the government’s announcement on 13th May 2020, estate agents are now allowed to conduct in-person house viewings.

 

How will house viewings work?

During lockdown, many estate agents, including many of our branches, began offering virtual house viewings via video. The government is still encouraging buyers to use virtual house viewings to filter down their options, and then to only view homes in-person once they’ve found a property they’re seriously considering making an offer on.

When attending an in-person house viewing, it’s essential that social distancing measures are followed. You must wash your hands when entering properties, bring your own hand sanitiser and avoid touching surfaces. Only those who absolutely need to attend the viewing should do so. Estate agents and customers should also consider wearing face masks, especially if social distancing could prove difficult. [1]

 

Will estate agents’ offices be open?

Estate agents are allowed to open their offices for businesses again, but the government has encouraged an appointment system for customer visits to ensure social distancing measures can be followed appropriately.

 

Are estate agents still selling houses?

Yes, houses have continued to be sold throughout lockdown. Property transactions are allowed to go through, provided all parties follow the government’s advice on social distancing when moving home.

 

Are property surveyors still working?

Property surveyors can still undertake surveys of the property you wish to purchase, and there are no restrictions on the types of survey that can be carried out. The government has encouraged inspections by appointment only, with only one person visiting the property at a time.

Surveyors should follow the latest government guidance for working in other people’s homes. [1]

 

Are mortgages still being approved?

They are. Since lockdown began, it has been slightly harder to get a deal as many mortgage lenders have had to withdraw some mortgage products or cap the amount they’ll lend. [2]

Before the pandemic began, it was common to be able to get a 90%-95% mortgage, however nine in 10 of these mortgages have fallen by the wayside. [3]

There are still plenty of good rates out there though, especially if you have a higher deposit.

Now that the market has re-opened and in-person mortgage valuations are allowed, some of these deals may start to return in the coming weeks and months. [3]

 

Will mortgage payment holidays be extended?

On 22nd May 2020 the government announced that homeowners whose finances have been impacted by coronavirus can now extend their mortgage payment holiday by a further three months. The date for homeowners to apply to extend their mortgage holidays has also been extended, and customers are now able to apply until the end of October.

The availability of a three-month mortgage holiday was first announced in March, allowing people to defer payments without affecting their credit rating. The original deadline for applications was June. [4]

 

Will property prices drop after COVID?

It’s too early to tell exactly what the impact of coronavirus will be on property prices. Forecasters are making different predictions when it comes to the rise and fall of house prices, and it’s likely that the figures we see in the coming weeks and months will fluctuate. [3]

As always, we are here to help you and provide free no obligation advice. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local branch! Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent, we are as committed as ever to supporting you through these difficult times.

 

[1] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

[2] https://www.whatmortgage.co.uk/feature/brokers-view-mortgage-advice-covid-19-pandemic/

[3] https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/how-will-the-coronavirus-affect-house-prices/

[4] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/help-with-mortgages-to-continue-for-homeowners-affected-by-coronavirus