An immediate fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic is that it has placed many Lewisham families house moves on hold. Government guidelines state all home buyers and home sellers who are in the process of selling their Lewisham home and moving to a new home must adapt to these temporary arrangements, adjusting their usual practices, agreeing different dates to the house move after the removal of the stay at home actions we are all adopting. In essence, putting the home move ‘on ice’ during lockdown.
However, where the home being moved into is vacant, Government guidance states that you can continue with this transaction although you must observe the Governments guidance on home removals. There are also exceptions allowed where existing accommodation becomes un-fit to live in (e.g. flood or fire) or occurrences of domestic violence. Thankfully, the Government have asked mortgage companies to extend the expiry date of any mortgage offer and the Law Society have implemented a standard legal process for delaying completion dates.
So, what does all this mean for the people of Lewisham?
This means the home moves of 258 Lewisham families have been put on hold since the coronavirus restrictions brought the UK housing market mainly to a halt in late March.
These are Lewisham properties where a sale was agreed between October 2019 and February 2020. During the time between sale agreed and completion, the properties are classified as sold subject to contract. Interestingly, it has been taking upwards of 14 to 19 weeks from agreeing a sale to the move-in over the last few years. This means typically, these 258 property transactions mentioned above would have completed between April and June/July 2020, yet have now been placed on hold after the Government asked buyers and sellers to delay house moves where possible.
The value of Lewisham property sold subject to contract amounts to £119,454,000
The pandemic hit just as the Lewisham market had been experiencing the Boris Bounce following his General Election landslide in December. It appears talking to my team and other agents in Lewisham, just about every buyer and seller is happy to wait until the restrictions are lifted because they had been holding back their house move because of Brexit. Interestingly, many of the Lewisham homeowners in limbo mentioned above are moving up the property ladder, and whilst being ‘in limbo’, it has made them realise more than ever that the homes they are moving from are too small for their needs and they are keen to crack-on with the sale once restrictions are lifted.
Finally, we cannot forget the tenants of Lewisham. Currently there are 29 families looking to make that move, yet unable to as tenants are under the same restrictions as homebuyers. This means they too cannot do a physical viewing nor can they move home during lockdown unless the existing accommodation becomes un-fit to live in e.g. flood or fire or occurrences of domestic violence or the person moving is an essential worker. That doesn’t mean tenants cannot view the property and prepare the paperwork in advance. In fact many agents think the first Friday after lockdown will be the busiest ever moving day in the history of the UK as there will be a huge pent up demand to move on that date.
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