Moves by mortgage lenders to offer payment holidays over the Coronavirus outbreak will reassure agents fearing the imminent collapse of chains.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is giving customers affected by the virus a three-month mortgage-payment holiday, with other lenders likely to follow suit.
With the fallout from COVID-19 likely to last many months, and some experts predicting another financial crash, the speedy move will go some way to maintain confidence in the market.
Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of trade body UK Finance, said: “Banks, building societies and credit card providers understand that some of their customers may be worried about the effect that contracting the Coronavirus could have on their finances, for example due to a drop in income or because of unexpected expenses or bills to pay.
“All providers are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19, which could include offering or increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments: asking for help early is key.”
An RBS spokeswoman added: “We are monitoring the potential impact of Coronavirus across all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption.
“We understand that there may be circumstances where a personal customer may fall into financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of Coronavirus, for instance, loss of income.
“We will look to understand each customer’s situation on a case-by-case basis and can offer a number of options to help them manage their finances. We would encourage any customer experiencing financial difficulty to get in touch with us.”
Both RBS and Lloyds have also offered support to small businesses, which could prove vital for local agencies if the market falters, as they struggle to compete against the big chains.
RBS has said it is putting aside £5bn to cover emergency loans and has contacted more than 5,000 business customers to offer support. Firms will be able to apply for loan repayment holidays of up to six months.