When lockdown measures were announced over three months ago in the UK on March 23, the property market suddenly came to an emergency stop. Estate agents across the country closed their doors, and those in the middle of a house move had to scramble to postpone and delay the process. It is to everyone’s great relief that since lockdown began on March 23, the measures that were put in place have been eased and lifted, breathing life into the UK property market once again.
We’re now in a position where estate agents are reopening for business, home buyers can safely view properties, and sellers can list and market their property. Business is back up and running, but it is anything but business as usual. A lot has changed and now needs to be done differently – and it is everyone’s responsibility in the interest of public health and safety to change how they approach buying and selling property.
The lockdown left many of us in an incredibly difficult position. Those of us who were in the middle of moving home had to decide whether to delay and postpone or push the move through in very difficult circumstances. Here at Jordan & Halstead, even while our doors have been closed to the public we have been available via phone and email for guidance and assistance. As things begin to get moving again, we’re dedicated to doing what we can to protect public health and the safety of everyone we work with.
Much has changed over the last few months, and we understand just how difficult it is to keep up with this fast moving and ever changing situation. It’s impossible to predict the future and we could be living and working with the consequences of COVID-19 for a long time to come. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can keep things moving when it comes to the property market during the coronavirus crisis.
The UK government recently announced a stamp duty holiday
On the 8th of July, as part of his summer statement, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a year long stamp duty holiday in an effort to support and boost the property market and avert a financial crisis. The stamp duty holiday went into immediate effect upon announcement, and home buyers in England and Northern Ireland are now benefitting from the new tax cut.
The tax threshold has been temporarily raised in order to support home buyers. The new measures – that came into place on the 8th of July – will last until next March 2021. As part of a plan to boost consumer spending and both the domestic and commercial property markets, the stamp duty holiday is in effect in England and Northern Ireland on any property sale made of a value of £500,000 or lower.
This means that until March next year every homebuyer buying a property worth less than £500,000 will be exempt from paying any stamp duty tax whatsoever – meaning a saving worth thousands of pounds for many buyers. Above £500,000, home buyers will still enjoy a stamp duty discount for five to twelve per cent depending on the value of the property.
Removals are back in action
From the 29th of June onwards, removal firms have been given the green light from the UK government to begin operations once again. Removal firms that adhere to the official government guidance and measures regarding COVID-19 can carry out work moving people’s assets from property to property.
As with most things at the moment, removal companies require vigilant and responsible use of social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and face coverings in order to conduct removals safely. The process takes a bit more time and planning than usual under COVID-19 precautions, so if you’re planning on moving home we recommend contacting your removal company early into the process.
Holding safe and responsible property viewings during COVID-19
Official government guidance facilitates safe property viewings now, meaning that those hoping to find their dream home during the coronavirus crisis can continue to search the property market. However, there are some strict regulations in place to ensure that property viewings are performed in the interest of public health. Viewing a property means physically entering and thoroughly examining another person’s property, so the fear of contracting the infectious disease is one that should be taken seriously.
First of all, property viewings should only be held when the prospective buyer has spent time extensively researching the property as much as possible online and has a real intent to bid on the property. Viewings should be held by appointment only so that proper measures can be put into place, meaning that open houses are not currently permitted.
Hosts are expected to vacate the property whenever possible before a viewing and to prepare the property by leaving windows and doors open. This means that the viewer and estate agent can avoid touching handles and move through the house while touching as little as possible. PPE like gloves and facemasks are standard practice and proper social distancing is an absolute must.
Also, you should expect that everyone involved in the viewing, such as the host, the prospective buyer and the estate agent fully communicate beforehand in order to set expectations and agree on regulations. Everyone involved will be responsible for regularly washing their hands and for touching as little as possible during the viewing.
Can you have your property newly listed during COVID-19?
Looking to sell your home but worried about putting it on the market during the pandemic? Fortunately, estate agents are now able to safely visit your home with the intention of valuing the property and taking photos and videos to market and sell the property. Of course, all the same governmental regulations such as social distancing and use of PPE must be adhered to.
Get in touch with us today
Want to find out more about how you can get on the property market during COVID-19? Just get in touch with us today. The team here at Jordan & Halstead are committed to supporting our customers and clients throughout the pandemic while maintaining our responsibility to public health. We are dedicated to keeping everyone here at J&H and all of our customers safe and healthy. Just give us a call or pop us an email to find out more about what we’re doing to cope with the pandemic.