Can I move home during lockdown?

Published 4th of November, 2020

The man from the Government, he say yes!

The short answer is yes. Estate and letting agents are allowed to continue working under the 'Exceptions To Leaving Home', but a yes doesn't necessarily mean one should.

What can I do during lockdown2?

With respect to buying, selling or renting a home, individuals may leave home to:

  • visit estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;

  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;

  • preparing a residential property to move in;

  • moving house;

  • visiting a property in order to rent or buy it.

Should I buy or sell a home during lockdown?

This really depends on your motivation for moving home. If you need to move because of a significant change in circumstances and the benefits of moving outweigh the costs of moving home then it makes sense to move.

If on the other hand, you are looking to move to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday then we would counsel against moving for the following reasons:

  • We believe that the Stamp Duty Holiday is temporarily inflating house prices as many people seek to move to beat the deadline and in many cases, the increase in house prices will outweigh the stamp duty saved.

  • Empirical evidence from previous stamp duty holidays suggests that there will be a lull in transactions when the holiday comes to an end. If you can wait to move you may find you are competing against fewer buyers in April 2021 than you are today

  • The lull in transactions coupled with the loss of the benefit of the stamp duty holiday and rising unemployment is likely, in our view to soften house prices. You might get more bang for your buck if you wait until Spring.

  • There are bottlenecks in the conveyancing and mortgage application and approval processes so you may find that you miss the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline through no fault of your own and end up paying a full price as well as more stamp duty.

What will happen to house prices during lockdown2?

We believe that house prices will continue to rise during lockdown2. The market data suggests that there are more buyers than sellers and this is pushing prices up as is the lure of stamp duty holiday savings. However, once the stamp duty holidays ends, what has gone up (house prices) may come down as demand and buyer appetite wanes.

What can I do to increase the value of my home?

Perhaps rather than rushing to move, we should be rushing to improve. With our social wings clipped and with shorter and colder days on the way, we will all be spending more time indoors.

Rather than binge-watching boxsets, we could use the time to improve our homes and increase their saleability ahead of the all-important spring selling season.

Improving needn't be expensive, it can be as easy as:

  • De-cluttering

  • a fresh coat of paint

  • showing how that spare room could be better used as a space to work from home

This could lead to a quicker sale at a higher price in a market where you are calling the shots rather than being called and pulled from pillar to post to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline

Housing Hailey

Subscribe to Market Views