The estate agency industry has given its first reaction to the government’s ‘road map’ to re-opening England which will see a steady easing of the lockdown regulations between March 8th and June 21 when, if everything goes to plan, Covid will be over.
This will start with schools and colleges opening and people being allowed to meet one other friend for a coffee or picnic, followed by gatherings of up to six people or two households on 29th March.
Shops will then re-open on 12th April along with most pubs and restaurants but only those with outdoor seating along with limited access to pools, gyms and other venues.
On 17th May restrictions will continue but allow groups of up to 30 people allowed to meet in parks and gardens and up to six people indoors.
Stadiums and other sport venues will also be allowed to open, but all these measures will be dependent on continuing reviews by the government to ensure the virus, or a variation of it, does not begin to spread again.
Dominic Agace (pictured), chief executive Winkworth, says: “It’s a great relief to get to this long-awaited marker, plotting a way out of this third and, hopefully, final lockdown.
“Throughout the second and third lockdowns, buyer demand has remained.
“With a hint of spring on its way and a route to a sustained normality, optimism should build, with sellers returning in greater numbers to the market.
“Current demand is ahead of 2020 levels and outperforming the boost from the Boris bounce following the outcome of the General Election – but the supply of homes to the market has lessened. As a result, we are seeing prices hold firm and a positive and balanced market beyond the end of the stamp duty holiday.”
James Forrester (pictured), MD of Barrows and Forrester, says: “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.”