Government sets out plans to restart England’s housing market

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced plans to restart England’s housing market after having been put on hold during the Coronavirus lockdown.

From today (Wednesday, 13 May), all buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work, provided they adhere to new guidance on social distancing and safety.

The BBC says the news will “test the housing sector’s hope, and belief” that there is a “wave of pent-up demand”.

In another move to unlock the housing market, the Housing Secretary has announced a series of measures to get the country building homes again, including:

  • allowing builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council, such as staggering builders’ arrival times, easing pressure on public transport
  • enabling local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets, helping to unblock the service
  • support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cashflow while ensuring communities still receive funding towards local infrastructure in the longer term

A new Safe Working Charter has also been launched by the Government and the Home Builders Federation, helping construction sites reopen in line with latest health and safety guidance. This compliments detailed guidance available from the Construction Leadership Council on further reducing the risk of infection onsite.

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