The slowdown in the housing market as we manage the COVID-19 pandemic has led many industry experts to call on the Government for help. While Government guidance advises caution for home-movers at this time, there is nothing to prevent buyers and vendors from engaging. However, understandably, many households are reluctant to move at this time.
Therefore, there are calls for the Government to aid house moves, and to provide further support to facilitate property deals.
The HomeOwners Alliance has surveyed homeowners during the lockdown, and they have raised several issues. The organisation states many people are suffering from anxiety due to spending so much time at home during the lockdown.
The study indicates more than a fifth of property owners have experienced housing issues during the lockdown. 45% of respondents have announced they have struggled to pay their domestic bills. Of the respondents who said they had been affected by the lockdown, 16% say they have seen house moves stall, be interrupted or be abandoned.
The most pressing concern for homeowners with a mortgage was their ability to sustain mortgage payments or having to request a mortgage holiday from their lender. Of the respondents who said they had experienced problems due to COVID-19, close to 10% say they are worried about losing their job.
Paula Higgins is the Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, and she said; “While we’ve heard from housing industry groups worried about their businesses this is the first research highlighting homeowners’ concerns. Our study was conducted in early April, so it is highly likely concerns around paying rent, mortgages and bills, and the impact of isolation on mental health has rocketed in the subsequent four weeks of lockdown.”
This finding has led the HomeOwners Alliance to call on the Government to prioritise the housing industry when businesses are re-opened.
Higgins explained this request by saying; “The human impact and multiplier effect of getting the housing market going is clear: people can move for jobs, a growing family or to downsize. Mortgage lenders, in turn, will feel confident in lending to first-time buyers with smaller deposits. And a myriad of different jobs can be revived, from house builders, conveyancing firms, estate agents, surveyors, removals companies, architects, home improvement firms and more, all feeling the benefits.”
The Alliance also states that lifting restrictions, by themselves, will not be enough. Confidence is crucial in the housing market, and they are calling for a 12-month stamp duty holiday. A break of this nature would assist families in moving, and it could provide the housing market with the support they require.
At Coakley & Theaker, we aim to support the local community as much as we can, and we know this is an extremely trying time. A lot of people are looking for support and guidance, and if you have any property or housing-related questions, we are more than happy to assist you, so contact us today.