The UK’s housing market has effectively been frozen since tough coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.
Property website Zoopla had previously estimated that some 373,000 property sales had been put on hold during lockdown - with a total value of £82bn.
Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer, Zoopla, commented: “We’re delighted that the government has recognised the need to restart the property market, permitting estate agents to operate - within the parameters of common sense social distancing. Now is the time to get the market moving and to restore it to full health.
“With 373,000 transactions held up in the pipeline, amounting to £82bn in property value and £1bn of agent revenue, the Government’s move is set to be a catalyst for the broader economy. The multiplier effect of estate agency will stimulate cashflow for a network of industries, from removal firms to decorators to solicitors, benefiting the economy at both a local and national level.
“This is where our two payment plans for agents will come into their own; for at least the next five months, our customers who have subscribed to one of our offers will be able to rebuild their revenue pipeline without a financial outlay for portal use. We welcome the opportunity to discuss plan options with any agents who had not already signed up.”
Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The announcement that estate and lettings agents can return to work is excellent news for both the industry and the greater economy with housing related activity making up a substantial contribution to GDP. However, it is imperative that the sector returns to work with clear COVID-19 safe guidelines, taking into consideration the concerns of colleagues and customers.
“It is vital that the sector continues to ensure that they act within a responsible and safe manner ensuring that government health guidelines are adhered to at all times. Most estates agents have the tech tools, processes and services in place to carry out the home buying process virtually through means of video viewings and valuations, and electronic contracts and documentation. Added to this, The Guild’s compliance offer, Paul Offley, has produced a 6-point return to work safely guide for estate and lettings agents to operate within a safe manner.
“If we as an industry follow the safety guidelines, I believe that the property sector will play a key part in getting the economy back on its feet again. The housing sector is one of the most important influencers in the economy and will be vital to rebuilding the financial health of the country as we move into the next phase. Allowing estate and lettings agents to get back to back and allowing the pipeline of transactions to go through will have knock-on advantages to several other sectors of the economy.
“According to TwentyCI, the UK’s leading data analyst in the transaction housing market, the number of properties in the system that have both a Sale Agreed and have Searches Ordered is 163,000. If the total value of these properties is added together, based on the current or last advertised price, the total property value is over £55bn. In addition to those 163,000 properties, there are a further 155,000 properties with Sales Agreed that have not yet had Searches Ordered.
“The knock-on consumer spend of homemovers is exceptional. On average around four million people within the UK move homes, and excluding the property purchase and transaction costs, these consumers spend £12bn with the period of expenditure stretching from six months prior to the more to more than a year past the move and beyond.”
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