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Covid - Make viewings safer now to avoid winter market mayhem

An agent is warning the government it must manage Covid and not simply react ‘too late and too little’.

He’s suggesting some planned restrictions to how sale and rental viewings are imposed now to add extra safety without deterring sellers and buyers.

Otherwise, he says, hastily introduced measures could be a disaster for the housing market if they prevent free movement and stop people viewing properties later this year.

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Robert Burdett, managing director at James Leigh Property Management, says: “The housing market is a key economic driver, and with the uncertainty of rising Covid cases across the UK it's critical that the housing market can continue to operate." 

He continues: “Whilst we must keep people safe and prevent the spread of Covid, the market needs certainty to retain confidence in vendors and their buyers. So if measures are to be introduced, we must know what they are, when they are to be introduced, and they must allow the market to continue to function properly."

He says government and agents’ representatives should plan and avoid rules imposed at the last minute. 

Burdett says planned measures could include:

- Re-introduction of face masks for property viewings;

- Limit viewings per day to allow cleaning between visits;

- Limit number of people for any one viewing to two; and

- Provide a negative lateral flow test before viewing.

Burdett goes on: “During successive lockdowns, virtual tours were used to great effect, so using these for initial enquiries could reduce the number of actual visits and act as a filter. But it is critical to the continued success of the housing market that measures do not prevent or put off people from buying and selling homes.

“The housing market has fared remarkably well during the Covid pandemic, but the wrong measures could slow or reverse growth. As a key economic driver, its performance can impact the wider economy dramatically, especially construction and associated sectors.”

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