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Gloucestershire Business News

Property market back in business as restrictions lifted

Property viewings, removal firms and conveyancing can all resume in England from today as the Government relaxes coronavirus restrictions.

While the property market remains all but closed in the rest of the United Kingdom, it is hoped the easing of restrictions will kick start house sales and rentals in England.

Home moves had only been allowed when "reasonably necessary" with agents banned from listing new properties and house hunters have only been able to make online viewings.

An estimated 450,00 buyers and renters have been forced to freeze their plans with property website Zoopla estimating £82billion of house sales were on hold.

New sales agreed at the end of April fell by around 90 per cent of the levels recorded in early March.

Great news for the housing market - Karmen Waldron of WSP Solicitors 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals.

"This critical industry can now safely move forward and those waiting patiently to move can now do."

He said social distancing and guidance from Public Health England must continue to be followed while Miles Shipside, from property website Rightmove, predicted online viewings which have been introduced by many estate agents will remain popular.

Visits to the site during the last three days of April were up more than 20 per cent compared with the first few days of lockdown as people stuck at home started to think about a new life in the country.

Estate agent Savills has suggested people who still have money to look for somewhere new, may now be rethinking their priorities.

How will COVID-19 reshape what home buyers and sellers want? 

Andrew Perratt, head of country residential at Savills, said: "What is most significant for me is the jump in new buyer registrations."

He said the big demand was for properties in "the country markets around the major cities".

Mark Cornell from Gloucester mortgage and financial advice firm Cornell & Company said: "We hope lenders release the negative restrictions and put systems in place to deal with the backlog in surveys and valuations that have been put on hold since lockdown began and that continued positive news will help stimulate the housing market to the levels prior to coronavirus."

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