Posted on 13th August, 2020

Timeline of Events – UK Housing Market

By Emily O'Donoghue

As UK Housing Market Recovers from Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted, demand for property has risen and, as housing is a key part of the UK economy, the government has raised the incentives for buyers to boost the UK housing market.

27th March – Government Announces Freeze on Housing Market

The UK housing market is frozen by the government during the coronavirus lockdown.

The government has urged people to delay their home moves if possible and not to allow new viewings until the coronavirus restrictions are over.

13th May – Housing Market Reopens

The housing market in England gets the green light to reopen after seven weeks of lockdown.

Renters and buyers are allowed to move home and view properties as long as they observe physical distancing.

The lockdown that was implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reportedly halted nearly half a million people from progressing with their plans to move.

30th June – Build, Build, Build

Positive news for the housebuilding industry as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, encourages the UK to “build, build, build” as part of his post-coronavirus recovery plan.

He pledged £5bn in fast-tracked infrastructure investment, with the hope that the construction industry can help accelerate the economy.

Speaking from the West Midlands, the Prime Minister detailed how new regulations will make it easier to build better homes where people want to live.

The announcement sees the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War.

8th July – Chancellor Announces Stamp Duty Holiday

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces a temporary holiday on stamp duty to run until 31st March 2021 in a bid to boost the housing market.

House-hunters will not have to pay stamp duty on property’s costing up to £500,000.

This applies to both first-time buyers and those who have previously owned a property.

The increase in the threshold means buyers can save as much as £15,000 in fees they would previously have paid.

Mr Sunak suggested nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all and the average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500.

21st July – Homeowners Permitted to Add Two Extra Floors to Their Houses

Permitted Development rights will be extended to enable homeowners in England to add two extra floors to their properties without needing full planning permission.

Under the new laws that are set to come into effect by September, homeowners who are eager to build upwards on their properties can apply through a fast-track approval service.

The government says it will mean redundant space can be quickly re-purposed to revive high streets and town centres.

31st July – Government Extends Help to Buy Scheme

The government announces the extension of its Help to Buy scheme by two months.

The extension means that thousands of families can still benefit from the current scheme, despite delays in building their new homes due to coronavirus.

The deadline for the homes to be finished in order to comply with the equity loan scheme was previously at the end of this year.

It has now been extended to 28th February 2021 to ensure house purchasers do not miss out due to the unforeseen circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

31st July – Government Extends Help to Buy Scheme

The housing secretary announces that new homes will potentially get automatic planning permission approval to speed up building in England.

Robert Jenrick detailed that a “permission in principle” will be given to developments on land designated “for renewal” to speed-up the building process.

The new rules will fall under three categories:

Land for growth – allowing new homes and GP surgeries to be built automatically, providing the local council has rules there is a need for it.

Renewal area – mainly existing urban plots, will see their plans fast tracked with “permission in principle” rules enabling many high streets to regenerate and allow the development of new housing.

Protected land – green belt area and areas of national beauty will be protected from new development.

Properties will still have to meet building regulations and health and safety standards.

The housing secretary insisted the change is to cut red tap not standards and allow for good quality, attractive and affordable homes to be built faster.

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