At 8pm this evening, in an all too familiar manner, the Prime Minister addressed the nation once again to inform us that England would return to lockdown, instructing people to "stay at home", mirroring his announcement at the start of the pandemic in March.
During the eight-minute address, the Prime Minister hinted that this latest lockdown in England will last until the middle of February.
In addition to essential activities such as shopping for food and medicine, caring for vulnerable people and fleeing harm, the current guidance for moving home remains the same, meaning people in England will still be able to move and removal firms, tradespeople, and estate agents can still operate by going inside homes.
You can still move home. People outside your household or support
bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you
are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes
advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.
Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Adviser, Propertymark, comments: “We welcome the news that the housing market is to remain open throughout this new lockdown period, but it is essential that all agents continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus through following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings. It is vital that agents operate in accordance with government and Propertymark guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, keep movers and buyers safe and keep the housing market moving through these uncertain times.”
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Behnham and Reeves, commented: “The latest news of another national lockdown should do little to slow the momentum of the UK property market, given that official government advice still deems it ok to transact and move home.
"As a result, the industry will continue to service the vast number of homebuyers who have entered the market since last spring and this will ensure that many more will benefit from the current stamp duty holiday.
"With no speed bumps in sight for the time being, the market is now clear to accelerate through the gears throughout the coming year and we should see a healthy increase in transactions and price growth over the coming months, if not, across the remainder of the year.”
Hugh Wade-Jones, Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, adds: “It remains business as usual for the UK property market and as a result, it’s unlikely we will see any decline in the huge levels of buyer activity seen since last year, nor should we see property prices detract from their current upward trend.
"Billions of pounds in accelerated property transactions are also currently waiting to complete prior to the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31st. It would have been a disastrous move for the government to have slammed the door in the face of these aspirational homebuyers so close to the finish line and would have no doubt caused a landslide of property transaction fall throughs and a drop in values had they done so.
"Of course, the industry must continue to operate with immense caution and all physical aspects of the home buying process itself must be met with extreme diligence to ensure the safety of all those involved.”
James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, concludes: “Many will be thankful that the government have refrained from placing the property market back into a pandemic induced cryogenic deep freeze. As one of the cornerstones of the UK economy, it’s vital that we remain open and able to service the unprecedented levels of market activity seen in recent months.
"While previous calls to work from home unless necessary will have caused many property professionals to struggle at the start of the last year, the industry was able to adapt and evolve to a remote, more digitally enabled way of working.
"With this practice remaining pretty much in place ever since there should be little to no disruption for those currently selling and buying in the current market, and we expect to see no disruption as a result of this latest government announcement.”