Welsh agents will be able to conduct viewings on Monday as part of a package of changes to the country’s Covid lockdown measures announced today.
First Minister Mark Drakeford says viewings will be able to go ahead in empty properties, as will home moves where a sale has been agreed but not yet completed. But this is unlikely to quell recent agent unhappiness over the pace of Covid rules relaxation in Wales.
But the announcement leaves letting agents in the dark, and although officials in Cardiff say it will ‘probably’ include the private rental market, this is expected to be clarified later today when new guidance is published.
The announcement has been made following a fourth statutory review of the coronavirus regulations by Welsh Ministers, using the latest scientific and medical evidence from the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Cell (TAC) and the advice from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales.
In addition to the housing announcement, all non-essential shops will be able to re-open, part of a stepped relaxation of the Welsh lockdown that will be announced every Monday for the next three weeks.
Places of worship will also be able to open, and outdoor sports will be allowed too, but only if social distancing rules are followed. The contentious five-mile radius ‘stay local’ rules are to remain until July 6th at the earliest, making agents’ job difficult if a property is further away from their base than that.
“Given the progress we have made, we are able to take some additional cautious steps to further unlock our society and economy,” says Drakeford.
“This includes more retailers being able re-open their businesses, as long as they take measures to minimise the risk to their staff and to the customers who visit their stores.”
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark and David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark comment on the advice from Welsh government on moving home during the Covid-19 outbreak: “We welcome today’s announcement reopening the housing market in Wales. However, the guidance issued will have a greater impact on the sales market as there still are some significant restrictions in place meaning the market will not be able to fully open.”