Your Guide To The Property Market During COVID-19

29th July 2020

As lockdown hit the UK a few months ago, the property market came to a grinding halt. Fortunately, we’re now in a position where the restrictions and measures in place have begun to be eased and lifted, allowing us once again to get the process of buying and moving home in action. But things aren’t quite the same as they were, so it’s important to know a few things. 

Many of us who were in the middle of the process of selling or buying a new home when the lockdown came into place were left with a difficult decision: push the move through, or postpone. Here at JonSimon Estate Agents, we’ve opened our doors again and have been helping our clients get the process moving while maintaining proper health and safety. Whatever we do during the COVID-19 pandemic, public health hygiene is a huge priority. 

A lot of things are different now, so it’s important to understand how to safely conduct property viewings, listings, and purchases during this time. We’re living in a fast moving and unpredictable world right now, and there’s no telling just how long things will stay this way. We will likely be living in a COVID-19 influenced world for some time, so it’s best to future-proof yourself and prepare for whatever may come. 


How have things changed since lockdown began? 

On May 13, the UK government announced that restrictions around the property market would begin to be eased. This essentially meant that people hoping to move home could do so, but it certainly did not mean a return to normal. New measurements were put into place to protect the public health of everyone involved. 

Other changes included the fact that estate agents are now free to visit any property with the intention of taking photos and videos for selling and promoting the home. This allows you to continue listing properties and getting your home out on the market. 

Another change includes the fact that prospective home buyers are able to visit listed properties in order to perform a property viewing. Here at JonSimon, we’ve previously gone over this in another blog all about how to more safely perform property viewings during COVID-19. Essentially, it’s important to be safe, protected and hygienic but property viewings can be conducted. 

Removals companies have also been given the green light to perform removals and to facilitate house moves again. Like with everything else, social distancing and PPE are important parts of conducting this safely, but it can now be performed. If you need removals in order to complete your house move, you can now do so. 

These measures were announced for England, but on June 29th, the governments of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have also eased restrictions on the housing and property market. 


Always stay up to date with the latest government and official advice

Whatever you do, it’s incredibly important to always work to stay up to date and well informed when it comes to government and official advice. While restrictions have been eased, it’s incredibly important that we all remain alert and responsible when it comes to containing the virus and keeping one another safe and healthy. 

This means always having the latest news on measures and regulations. Things are changing all the time during the coronavirus crisis, with daily governmental updates and the entire country keeping a close eye on the situation. Measures could change at any time, so an crucial part of protecting your own house move, purchase or sale is going to be keeping on top of the current measures. 

Here at JonSimon Estate Agents, we are dedicated to protecting the health and safety of everyone we work with. If you want further advice and guidance, you can get in touch with us at any time for a discussion about your needs and how we can help you during the property market throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The UK stamp duty holiday is now in place

As of the 8th of July, home buyers in England and Northern Ireland are now enjoying a stamp duty holiday. As part of his summer statement, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the new measures to help support and boost the UK property market. 

The changes went into immediate effect and function for all property sales made in England and Northern Ireland of a sale value of £500,000 or lower. Until next March in 2021, the tax threshold has been temporarily raised to help home buyers struggling financially throughout the coronavirus crisis. 

How does it work exactly? Well, essentially, if the property you are planning on buying costs £500,000 or less, you’ll be exempt from paying any stamp duty whatsoever. For some home buyers, this will mean making savings of thousands of pounds when conducting a house purchase. It’s a measure that has been put into place to support those still hoping to purchase during COVID-19, in turn boosting the current property market. 

If you’re buying a property but it is worth over the £500,000 mark, then you will still benefit from a stamp duty discount rather than an exemption. The amount has been greatly reduced. If, for example, the value of the property you’re buying is £500,001 to £925,000, then stamp duty is taxed at 5 per cent. For properties worth between £925,001 to £1.5 million, then stamp duty is taxed at 10 per cent. All property worth over £1.5 million will be taxed at 12 per cent. 

For a point of reference, before Rishi Sunak announced the new stamp duty holiday, the tax was applied to and paid on any property bought for £125,000 or more anywhere in England and Northern Ireland. First time buyers have been exempt from stamp duty on any property worth up to a value of £300,000. 


Listing your property during COVID-19 

If you want to put your home up for sale and on the property market while beginning to look for a new property to purchase and move into, you can now do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Estate agents are now able to visit your property with the purpose of taking video and photo material of the home – as long as both you and the agent fully adhere to public health guidance and advice. If any member of your household has shown symptoms or taken ill then you will need to postpone and delay the listing of your property while you conduct self isolation. Estate agents will not be able to physically visit the property if this is the case. 


Viewing a property during the coronavirus crisis

Safe property viewings can now be performed during the pandemic, but there are strict rules and regulations for doing so safely. You’ll need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and facemasks at the discretion of your estate agent and the property viewing host. 

Property viewings should also only be conducted by appointment only with no open house viewings. It’s advised that all doors and windows are left open before the viewing, meaning that prospective buyer and estate agent can touch as little as possible within the home. 

Everyone involved in the viewing will need to maintain proper social distancing and also regularly wash their hands in order to responsibly maintain everyone’s health and safety. Your estate agent will also likely restrict the number of people who can be the entire house during the duration of the viewing. 


Get in touch with us today

Want to discover more about how we are helping our clients and customers conduct themselves safely and responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic? Just get in touch with us today to find out more. It’s a strenuous and difficult period right now, but the team here at JonSimon is dedicated to supporting our customers with the right advice and guidance.

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