The Welsh property market shut down on Friday evening, putting the brakes on the post-lockdown boom and potentially suspending more than 2,000 home purchases
The Welsh Government’s two week circuit breaker lockdown includes a ban on property viewings and will force estate agents to close their offices until November 9th.
Legally contracted moves can go ahead and surveyors are still allowed to work in people’s homes under social distancing guidelines, but new business will grind to a halt.
The measures could immediately affect about 2,240 transactions – the number of sales agreed in the proceeding two-week period from October 7th-21st according to Rightmove.
For now, Tier 3 restrictions in England make specific allowances for the housing market to remain open, but the Welsh approach could set a precedent for other parts of Britain.
Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finder, a buying agent, said the break would mean “anyone purchasing now has no chance of being in their new home by Christmas”.
Surveyors, lenders and local authorities are already overwhelmed by the surge in demand after the last lockdown, meaning buyers face major processing delays.
“I have deals that were arranged in August that have been ready to exchange for weeks but cannot because they are still waiting on local authority searches”, says Mrs Peett.
Now, social distancing requirements and a move back to working from home will further reduce processing capacity at the same time that it will create a new backlog of cases.
“It is going to be chaos”, said Mrs. Peett. “More sales are likely to fall through”.
But the circuit breaker cold have a strange effect on house prices. “Competition is already fierce and lockdown means fewer homes will come to market”, said Mrs Peett. “Properties often have more than 50 viewings”, she added. “A drop in supply could spark gazumping when the market reopens”.
The Daily Telegraph – Saturday, 2th October 2000
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