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House Moves back on... Is that the start of a bounce back for residential construction - We hope so

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

The government has yesterday laid down its plans to restart England's housing market, which has been in a complete free fall since the coronavirus lockdown.

From the start of the Lockdown House moves were blocked and agents closed and the uncertainty will most likely knock both the confidence and the investment in residential builds.

an open, viewings will commence (for those who want to) and removal firms and conveyancers can get the wheels in motion again. Although with all changes subject to being carried out under social distancing and safety rules. While this applies to the UK, the devolved powers are unlikely to allow the change of course until they start to ease the lockdown in their countries.

The BBC reports that it is estimated there are 450,000 buyers and renters with plans on hold.

"Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals," MP Robert Jenrick said.

"This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so."

What the industry will no doubt appreciate is another government move to unlock the housing market, Mr Jenrick announced a series of measures for the house building sector, including:

  • Allowing builders to agree more flexible working hours with their local council, such as staggering arrival times to ease 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

  • Providing support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils to ease cash flow

Stewart Baseley, the Home Builders Federation, CEO said: "A resumption of work will play a major part in helping the economy recover, as well as delivering the homes the country needs.

"It should also provide the supply chain with the confidence it needs to accelerate its own restart."

So will the housing market bounce back post Covid-19 Lockdown?

Obvious to say it depends in a spectrum of other factors but surely we will see a surge to a certain extent given that at least 2 months of house moves were completely shelved. Unlike the last recession after the GFC people started choosing to not spend, here they have been completely stopped from buying.

Yet, the reality is that your heart has to go out for the many people whose finances are now less secure, their earnings are down or their pay increases far less likely than they were just a few months ago when they were preparing to move, and most likely with a less favourable eye reviewing loans and mortgages.

Social distancing hasn't stopped online viewings and if this does keep up the confidence of the market then it's likely the fruits of this will no doubt be more investment decisions getting a green light to build the larger schemes will flow through and we will start the long journey again of solving the UK housing crisis.

If you are interested in hearing an economist give their views and observation on what the last half of the year may have in store for residential construction then sign up for our free virtual event on 23rd June 2020 where we will be joined for a 20-30 minute economist speech.

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