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Housing market kick-started as lockdown is eased

Ministers will unfreeze the country’s housing market today and allow people to visit and view properties in a move that experts said could limit the decline in prices.

Estate agents, removal firms and conveyancers are all now permitted to open in England as long as they follow social-distancing rules. Show homes will be allowed to open and councils will be given the freedom to allow construction in residential areas until as late as 9pm on Monday to Saturday to allow for staggered shifts and to relieve pressure on public transport.

About 450,000 people were in the middle of a house move on March 23 when the lockdown, which included a freeze on most property transactions, was imposed. The move adds to anomalies around who is permitted to meet indoors. It means that potential buyers and renters, along with childminders and cleaners, can enter a property, but members of the family who live in a different household cannot.

Those self-isolating with a suspected coronavirus infection, as well as the 1.5 million in the “shielded” group deemed extremely vulnerable, remain unable to show their homes.   (Source:  The Times)