Government urges buyers to postpone moving home to avoid breaking social distancing rules – The Sun

HOUSE buyers have been urged by the government to delay moving home during the coronavirus crisis.

Ministers say Brits looking to buy a house should postpone completion dates to avoid breaking social distancing rules.

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Lenders have now said they would extend mortgage offers for up to three months, which would allow buyers to move in at a later date, Daily Mail reports.

The advice comes after banks lobbied MPs for a full freeze on the property market as the killer virus continues to grip Britain.

A government spokesman said: "Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving home while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.

"If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus. In line with the Government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible.

"All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group."

Ministers have confirmed there is no need to pull out of transactions amid fears of the housing market crashing while the UK is in lockdown.

Estate agents are already bracing themselves for a crash as people avoid going to open houses, while sellers are reluctant to put homes on the market.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said previously that people should avoid selling their homes or renting somewhere new while the crisis continues as it would be safer to stay put during the outbreak.

Mr Gove said: “If it is possible, to pause.

“There will be specific circumstances where moving down that chain, the process that will mean buying or selling homes.

“But one of the things I would stress, if at all possible, people should stay in their current homes.”

Estate agents have said that potential buyers have cancelled viewings following Government advice to stay at home, meaning homeowners have found it difficult to sell.


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One said viewings had fallen by 75 per cent and expected the figure to fall further.

Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent in north London, said: "If you are in a chain, it only needs one link to be someone working in the entertainment or travel business who is feeling uncertain about the future, and you have a problem."

Mr Leaf said many people would be holding off until the coronavirus situation became clearer, and said that some homes sales may well be renegotiated.

He said: “If demand drops, property prices are likely to fall with it. If that is the case, renegotiation will take place, but it is still far too early for that.”

Estate agents were trying to sell property virtually using video conferencing calls.

But analysts believe the market will bounce back once the coronavirus lockdown ends.
Mike Scott, Chief Property Analyst at estate agency Yopa, said the housing market was on an “upward trend” before the measures.

He said: “The pandemic emergency is now affecting the housing market – as it is affecting every facet of our lives – but these figures show that the underlying trend is positive and the market should come bounding back once the crisis has passed.”

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