Since 23 October, people in Wales have not been allowed to view properties, unless it was virtually, and they were not permitted to visit a high street estate agent with offices required to close. While England has gone into national lockdown with stricter restrictions in place, on Monday, Wales will exit their firebreak lockdown, and the property market will reopen and home moving activity can once again resume.
Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says that from 9 November, estate and lettings agents in Wales can reopen and people can once again continue with their plans to move home. “The restrictions on the home moving properties will be lifted from Monday and people wishing to move home can make the necessary arrangements with agents to go out once again, provided it is done so in a safe manner keeping to the Covid secure guidelines,” he says. “All other activities relating to home moves, such as property preparation, the removal process, handover of keys, surveys and valuations will also once again be permitted, with agents, valuers, surveyors and removal workers all allowed into a property while adhering to the rules. The Welsh government has stipulated that everyone involved in the home moving process is required to follow social distancing, handwashing, and respiratory hygiene guidance to ensure everyone is kept safe and the spread of Covid-19 is minimised.”
He adds that the guidance issued by the Welsh government, also states that travelling to and from Wales and England for the purposes of move home will also be permitted once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. “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,” Offley comments.
According to Melfyn Williams, Director at Williams & Goodwin and Welsh NAC representative for The Guild, Welsh agents are looking forward to being fully open to be able to assist with the home moving process. He adds that while the two-week fire break has restricted activity agents have continued to work from home and behind closed doors to help facilitate those who were unable to delay their home move.
“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,” says Williams. “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 a 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.”
Director of Peter Morgan Sales & Lettings, Jonathan Morgan, says: “We at Peter Morgan are very confident that the market will continue to show signs of strength for the remainder of November at least. Collecting information and details over the lockdown we know we will be busy when we reopen this Monday.” He adds: “We’ve seen a price increase of around 10% since last November and buyer interest is up a staggering 20%, however, stock is at an all-time low for available properties here in our postcodes. While it remains to be seen whether Christmas and seasonal impact will take effect, we are certainly ready for a busy month ahead.”
While agents are ready to go, Paul 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.