Can I move home now?
Millions of you are busy planning your next home move, but there are different guidelines for home-hunters depending on where you live in the UK.
The housing market in England has been open since the middle of May, but governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have only recently eased certain market restrictions.
Each country in the UK has a different roadmap out of lockdown, so it can be tricky keeping up with the information that’s relevant for you.
In this article, we’ll tell you all about the latest home-moving advice for your region – as well as the most up-to-date market trends.
Since the government reopened the property market last month, home-hunters have picked up where they left off and England is getting moving again.
Moves were given the green light to resume on 13th May as estate agents, surveyors, removal firms, and others were allowed to reopen their offices and commence home visits, including viewings, as long as they were done safely.
We’ve created a set of simple guidelines, based on the new government guidance, to reassure you when going on property viewings or allowing others into your home for viewings.
The first five weeks since the market in England reopened showed clear signs of pent-up demand being released. We saw numerous records broken in terms of people looking on our site and people contacting estate agents.
Supply has not increased at the same rate as demand, so this has pushed prices up by 1.9% compared with prices just before lockdown.
Click here for a full breakdown of what’s been happening to house prices in England.
Restrictions on home moves in Scotland were eased from Monday, 29th June.
This means that home-movers in Scotland can now visit estate agents and letting agents once again, and moves can take place – provided they can be done so safely.
People are allowed to leave their homes in order to move home and undertake activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property including:
- visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes
- viewing a residential property to look for a property to buy or rent
- preparing a residential property to move in
- moving home or
- visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property
People working for relevant organisations and businesses can also travel to work where necessary in order to undertake these activities in a safe manner.
The Scottish government advises that home-movers should:
- keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other people wherever possible
- wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and warm water
- avoid touching your face
- ensure that any surfaces you, family and workers come into contact with are cleaned and disinfected regularly
For more information from the Scottish government, click here.
The housing market in Wales partially reopened on Monday, 22nd June, with home viewings in empty properties given the green light.
House moves where a sale had been agreed but not yet completed prior to the coronavirus outbreak can now also go ahead.
Specifically, the Welsh government says that people may now:
- move home
- prepare a residential property for people to move into
- visit estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes for the purposes of the purchase, sale, letting or rental of unoccupied residential property
- view an unoccupied residential property
Unoccupied means the property should have been vacant for at least 72 hours.
The Welsh government also says that home-movers will need to be flexible as the market resumes.
This includes doing more of the process online, such as virtual property viewings initially and ensuring the property is safe to enter prior to any in-person viewings being carried out.
This will include increased cleaning processes before, during and after property viewings being carried out.
Two of the simplest steps home-movers can take when moving home are:
- wash your hands frequently and;
- wherever possible stay at least 2 metres apart from people who are not members of your household
For more information from the Welsh government, click here.
The Northern Ireland housing market reopened on Monday, 15th June.
Official advice from the government in Northern Ireland says that people are free to move home, however, the process of finding and moving into a new home is likely to be different.
This is because those involved in the process will need to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible.
Some of these new guidelines include:
- initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this
- all physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household and open house viewings should not take place. Viewings should be by appointment only
- the number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that absolutely have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly
- if people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products, after each viewing
- it’s recommended that you vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place, to minimise your contact with those not in your household. If you remain on the grounds of your property i.e. garden, you should maintain social distancing, whilst
For more information from the government in Northern Ireland, click here.
READ MORE: Need help finding your perfect location?