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Friday, March 27, 2020

UK Housing Market Put on Hold

The UK government has in effect suspended the country’s property market, stopping estate agents from marketing new homes and banning visits to those already for sale, as it seeks to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The government’s move on Thursday evening followed calls from banks to freeze the market. In talks between lenders and ministers, banks have expressed concern about the impact of the pandemic on valuations.

They are also concerned about granting credit when the economy is in freefall, according to senior bankers.

They have told ministers it has become impossible to survey properties, according to people briefed on the discussion. Bank call centres have also been inundated with anxious homeowners requesting mortgage holidays.

The government had already urged buyers and sellers to delay moving unless it was unavoidable for “contractual reasons”.

Yesterday, it went further, saying no visitors were allowed into properties while the ‘stay-at-home’ measures were in force, including estate agents, surveyors or potential buyers. The edict in effect blocks any new transactions taking place after the current round of pending completions.

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