How Is Coronavirus Affecting Real Estate Sector?

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The Coronavirus outbreak has caused unprecedented disruption over the past few months. Almost every sector has immensely affected, including the real estate sector.

The government has also published its Covid-19 action plan, which distinguishes the virus as a “significant change for the entire world”. The government has introduced three new measures on 23rd March 2020.

 

  • Closing shops offering non-essential items/community places
  • Imposing strict lockdown measures so that people could only go out for unavoidable work
  • Stopping all public gathering involving more than two persons

 

These rules were effective immediately, and the concerned authorities have been given powers to enforce those laws.

There was a massive 3.7% rise per annum in house prices in the month of April. This indicates noticeable growth during the lockdown phase.

People planning to come to the UK on the basis of UK Permanent Residence must keep themselves updated with the recent real estate news and price fluctuations to make the right decision.

Boris Johnson made a few changes to the action plan and announced it on 10th May 2020. The latest plan highlights the actions for a phased recovery from a virus, starting with a step-by-step easing of restrictions. Also, it includes new measures to strengthen the UK’s economy after the crisis.  The current action plan also includes easing of certain restrictions in the residential and commercial real estate sectors, which will be much encouraged by the realtors, house owners and people who want to permanently live in the UK.

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The ‘Restarting’ Phase

The Government highlighted the need to restart the current home market. Keep reading to know more about this term.

Buying and Renting Activities 

Since the March-end, government guidelines have brought most real-estate transactions to halt – be it buying or renting. Because of this, many housebuilders and contractors were doubtful about starting new projects.

The government, however, has revisited those guidelines, and permit a range of activities, including:

  • Enabling real estate agents and ‘show homes’ to resume their work
  • Allowing property viewings with proper safety measures in place, including safe distancing
  • Allowing EPC assessors to visit locations
  • Allowing home warranty assessments

Apart from that, many people working in the real-estate space can now resume their work. These people include estate agents, removal companies, conveyancers, house decorators, contractors, etc.

However, in all scenarios, it’s important for the workers to comply with the safety rules highlighted by the government.  Also, employers now have to take extra measures (including risk assessments, PPE, and social distancing) to keep their workers safe.

The UK Government has also issued a comprehensive guideline to cover the steps needed for different types of workspaces. For instance, there are separate instructions for construction, offices, and tradespeople.

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Real estate businesses must carefully go through the guidelines targeting their field of work to stay compliant.

The government has also introduced a temporary relaxation of planning guidelines. These changes include:

  • CIL guidelines will be modified to give local authorities power to hold up payments and disapply late payment surcharge for developers whose annual turnover is less than £45 million per year
  • The PPG has been modified to introduce powers (temporary) for local authorities to publish applications on their websites. These changes are applicable to EIA development
  • Housebuilders can now apply for flexible/extended working hours  and authorities are instructed to accept those applications

Conclusion

These amendments are definitely good news for people working in the real estate sector. Especially, those whose work has been immensely impacted due to the lockdown measures and self-isolation guidelines. While these changes are good for the growth of the real estate sector, it is still advisable to follow proper health, cleaning, and hygiene guidelines to stay safe.

Make sure you visit the official government website for more information.

Contributed by Rohaan Abbas first published on Kogonuso.com

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