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The government has relaxed lockdown rules from tomorrow to allow the UK house market to restart.

Under the new regulations people will be able to visit estate agents, view properties and move house without breaking lockdown rules.

Those involved will be expected to observe social distancing rules and wear gloves or masks where necessary.

The UK’s housing market has effectively been frozen since tough coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “It’s great news for consumers and the industry that the housing market is being opened up and people can let, rent, buy and sell properties again.

“The new regulations provide clarity to agents and will allow them to deal with pent up demand from consumers.

“It’s also a step to reinvigorating the housing market and will be a boost to the economy.”

Recent figures from estate agents Knight Frank showed transaction numbers in the week ending 2 May were 54 per cent below their five-year average.

However, data on new buyer registrations suggested that people are starting to prepare for life after the lockdown.

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In the week ending 28 March registrations were 77 per cent below the five-year average for London. By 2 May this narrowed to a decline of 60 per cent, while the number of new prospective buyers doubled over this period.

Analysts have predicted that house prices will fall as a result of the pandemic which has hit the economy hard.

“History tells us that house prices tend to fall when the economy shrinks as a result of falling output,” says Richard Donnell, research director at property platform Zoopla.

“[This] has a knock on impact for unemployment or higher borrowing costs – all things that can result in more ‘forced sellers’.”

“Thus the scale of the impact on house prices depends upon the scale of the economic impact from Covid-19.”

By James Booth

Source: City AM

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