Plan launched to 'safely' reopen housing market


The communities secretary has set out a "comprehensive" plan to safely restart the housing market with "immediate effect", as he revealed some 450,000 buyers had put their plans on hold since lockdown began.

Robert Jenrick said he had a "clear coherent" plan which would "restart reopen and renew" most areas of the housing industry, including the essential parts of sales and lettings process, as well as construction.

He said from today (Wednesday) anyone in England who wants to move house, can do so as long as they follow new guidance.

If rules are adhered to, estate agent offices can reopen, in-person viewings can resume, show homes can open and so can removal companies.

"This can be achieved with all parties observing hygiene measures and social distancing guidelines," Mr Jenrick said.

But Mr Jenrick said a "vibrant" housing market not only requires the buying and selling of homes, but building of homes is also essential.

As such, building sites in England will be allowed to operate until 9pm Monday to Saturday in residential areas and beyond that in non-residential areas as part of the Government’s efforts to restart the economy.

Communities Secretary Jenrick said: “Varied start and finish times will make it much easier for sites to observe social distancing, take the pressure off public transport like the Tube in London and keep Britain building.”

In addition to the 450,000 buyers who have plans, it is estimated that each month 300,00 tenancies come up for renewal - experts say there is £82 billion worth of demand in the market.

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Credit : ITV News, May 2020