Industry reacts to COVID-19 lockdown easing measures

Jessica Nangle

February 22, 2021

The industry has been reacting following the release of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to ease the COVID-19 lockdown in four stages, if data permits, following an extensive vaccination programme.

The Prime Minister hopes to ease most of the rules in place by the 21 June but will be dependent on hospital admissions, cases and deaths continuing to fall.

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “We now have a clear view of when we can expect normality to return and as the nation starts to reopen for business we should see the economy jump start back into action.

“While the property market has remained resolute in the face of the current pandemic, this lift in wider economic sentiment should further build on the strong foundations of market health spurred by the stamp duty holiday.

“With an easing of restrictions also helping the industry to facilitate existing and future transactions with greater ease, we can expect both the number of homes sold and the value at which they sell to continue climbing over the coming months as the backlog is cleared.”

James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, said that this news has provided more certainty to the property market.

Forrester added: “Welcome news for the property market which has been running on the artificially fuelled demand of a stamp duty reprieve.

“With this due to end in March, there was a degree of uncertainty around the future of the market and whether we would see property prices nosedive as a result.

“With normality now starting to return, this is unlikely to materialise and while the market will simmer to a more measured level of activity in the wake of the stamp duty holiday, this will be far from the crash that many have predicted.”

Hugh Wade-Jones, managing director of Enness Global Mortgages, believes that foreign buyer interest in the UK market may begin to climb.

Wade Jones said: “A clear plan of action will not only help steady the ship of the domestic market, but we should see foreign buyer interest in the UK market start to climb once again.

“While foreign buyer demand across the UK’s high-end market, in particular, has remained steady, travel restrictions have dampened appetites to an extent.

“However, with a more concrete view of when normality will return and an increase in stamp duty rates for foreign buyers on the horizon, we expect there will now be a mad scramble for prime UK property which will cause property values to climb as we head towards the spring.”

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