On Tuesday 12th May, renters and buyers in England were given the go ahead to move property again. After weeks of discussion between the government and property industry leaders, lockdown measures have been officially relaxed for those wanting and needing to move within England.
This is great news for the thousands of home-movers across England who have been unable to complete on their pre-lockdown purchases. Estate agents, surveyors, removal companies and construction companies have been allowed to reopen their offices and commence viewings, as long as they are social distancing compliant. Whilst this is great news for buyers and sellers in England, the property market in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remains closed for now.
According to Rightmove, visits to their website increased by 45% on Wednesday compared to the previous day following the decision to reopen the housing market. Emails to agents also increased by 70% and 2,115 new properties were added in just five hours.
Rightmove’s housing market expert Miles Shipside said: “These are clear signs that the news from the government has prompted more home-hunters to start looking for their next home, and we anticipate further uplift in activity once agents have time to adjust to the new social distancing guidance specific to the home moving sector.
“Home movers who have been eagerly waiting to take their home moving plans to the next stage should show some patience with agents given the unexpected announcement, to ensure there’s time to adapt to the new guidelines and ensure everyone is kept safe.”
Social distancing measures are still in place
Whilst easing the lockdown is great news for the property market, preventing the spread of the virus continues to be a top priority for all. Because the threat of coronavirus has not gone away, viewings will have to be different to how they once were to increase the safety of those carrying out and attending viewings. Discover Rightmove’s full guidance on how to stay safe on a viewing here.
For those still unsure about attending viewings, many companies are continuing to offer virtual viewings. Our sister company, Manchester Apartments, have offered virtual viewings throughout lockdown and will continue to do so for those who don’t yet feel comfortable to leave the house.
What does this mean for buy-to-let investors?
If you are an overseas investor looking at properties in England, you have very much been given the green light to continue with your purchase. With conveyancers back to work, activity that might previously have been halted by the lockdown can now continue.
If you’ve just started your search, it’s very likely that you’ll get a much better deal than you would’ve done a few months ago because the UK currency hasn’t quite recovered to what it was pre-lockdown. The pound has dropped against the dollar and other major currencies, making property investment an attractive option for overseas investors looking at the UK buy-to-let market. However, this window of opportunity won’t last forever, now that the market is gaining confidence, the pound will recover its losses.
If you’ve got questions about the property market or if you’re planning to invest in property and are looking for some advice, leave us your details and one of our property consultants will be in touch shortly.