Doors Open on the Housing Market

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By Chris Pease, Joint Senior Partner and Head of Residential Property

The Government took everyone by surprise last night by announcing the “re-opening” of the housing market in England.

In technical terms the coronavirus regulations were amended to say that it is now a “reasonable excuse” to leave home to:

  • Visit an estate or letting agent or a developer’s sales office
  • Visit properties to look for one to buy or rent
  • Get a property ready to move into
  • Visit a property to undertake activities necessary to rent or sell it
  • To move home.

The last of these is the most significant from our point of view since it means that property transactions which were previously frozen can now go ahead to exchange contracts and complete.

We have continued working throughout lockdown on property sales and purchases for our clients but exchanging contracts or agreeing a completion date has been very difficult, if not impossible. The relaxation of the regulations should make this a lot easier.

There will undoubtedly be more detail to follow and I think there are still risks associated with exchanging contracts, for example, what happens if a seller or buyer has to self-isolate between exchange of contracts and completion? The regulations make it clear that anyone self-isolating is excluded from the relaxation of the rules.

Also, what would happen if the Government changed its mind between exchange of contracts and completion and re-imposed a more restrictive lockdown?

These are all factors sellers and buyers of property will need to consider.

But as I say, taken overall, this must be good news for the housing market and everyone involved in buying, selling or renting properties.

If you are buying or selling your home and need advice about conveyancing, please contact Chris Pease.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.