Most agents' branches in Wales are expected to close for just over two weeks from 6pm this Friday, October 23 - moving house will also be delayed in many cases.
In the last lockdown, held UK-wide in the spring, most agents' offices were closed although some were accessed for essential business, such as obtaining keys. This afternoon the Welsh Government told Estate Agent Today that "High Street agencies are required to close" in this latest lockdown.
The Welsh Government has gone for the lockdown - starting in just four days’ time - because First Minister Mark Drakeford says “unless we are able to get Coronavirus back under control there is a real risk that our NHS will be overwhelmed and if that happens even larger number of people will die.”
It will end on Monday November 9.
The Cardiff administration has this afternoon issued guidance on the house moving process during the lockdown. The statement, in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, says:
Can I move home?
Yes, if you can’t delay the moving date until after the short lockdown period is over. Associated activities, for example, removals processes, property preparation, handover of keys, surveys and valuations can also take place in line with guidance on working in other people’s homes.
Can home viewings take place?
No. Property viewings cannot take place during the circuit breaker period and high street estate agencies are required to close. Virtual viewings can continue.
Can a mortgage survey be done at my property?
Surveyors should not enter occupied properties during the lockdown period. Vacant properties can be entered and street level surveys can take place.
Can I travel to and from my second home during the lockdown?
No. Travel in Wales without a reasonable excuse during the circuit breaker lockdown period is an offence. Travelling into, out of or within Wales to visit, check/inspect or stay in a second home is not a reasonable excuse.
Businesses affected by the firebreak will be supported with a new Welsh Government £300m fund, which will open next week:
- Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment;
- Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000;
- There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling;
- The £80m fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100 million.
Businesses will also be able to access the support available through the existing UK government Job Retention Scheme or the new expanded Job Support Scheme.