While England’s national lockdown exempts the housing market and allows agents to operate normally, it’s not been the same in Wales which ends its two week so-called ‘fire break’ this morning.
Since October 23 agents in Wales have had to work from home, people have not been allowed to view properties - unless it was virtually - and agency offices have had to close.
“All … activities relating to home moves such as property preparation, the removal process, handover of keys, surveys and valuations will once again be permitted, with agents, valuers, surveyors and removal workers all allowed into a property while adhering to the rules” according to Paul Offley, compliance office at The Guild of Property Professionals.
Of critical importance to some agents on the Wales-England border, travelling between the two countries will be legal again.
The guidance states that Welsh residents will be allowed to travel to England for the purposes of moving home or other related activity, and similarly, English residents wishing to move to Wales will also be able to allowed to travel within Wales for the purposes of moving home.
“The Welsh government has stipulated that everyone involved in the home moving process is required to follow social distancing, hand-washing and respiratory hygiene guidance to ensure everyone is kept safe and the spread of Covid-19 is minimised” adds Offley.
One Welsh agent - Melfyn Williams, director at Williams & Goodwin - says: “The fire break has affected the numbers of properties coming to the market which in turn will affect numbers of sales and lets in coming weeks, however, demand remains with properties already being pre-booked for viewings by qualified viewers in a safe manner following guidelines.
“After the first lockdown the industry has in effect been trying to catch up, which saw a surge in activity in the short term; we don’t expect the same surge to follow the two week lockdown although pre-bookings do indicate activity will increase. The firebreak lockdown coupled with seasonal reduction in activity may see the market cooling a little – although people still do have time to purchase now and take the advantage of the Land Transaction Tax holiday.”
While agents are ready to go, Offley says before any of the home moving activities take place, both the members of the household and the agent going into the property must not have any symptoms of coronavirus, must not be self-isolating and consideration will be given to any previous overseas travel.
“Before any appointment with a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant, agents should check that all parties involved are ‘Covid free’ and fit to proceed” he concludes.