The UK housing market is now poised and ready to re-open after more than 7 weeks and over 400,000 transactions being put on hold unable to be progressed. However, after an announcement earlier this week from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, all buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work while following social distancing. This week, Regulation 6 of the Coronavirus Regulations were updated to include the following guidance upon re-opening the housing market. The updated regulations are to include: 6.— (1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. (2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need— (l) to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property— (i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes; (ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent; (iii) preparing a residential property to move in; (iv) moving home; (v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property; In a further bid to bolster the housing market, the Housing Secretary has also stated a collection of measures for the UK to begin building ‘homes for the future’. These measures are outlined by:
- Allowing builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council, such as staggering builders’ arrival times, easing pressure on public transport;
- Enabling local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets, helping to unblock the service;
- Support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow while ensuring communities still receive funding towards local infrastructure in the longer term.