Associate solicitor Manisha Bhula, head of Blandy & Blandy’s residential property & conveyancing team, provides an update on the property market in the Thames Valley, explains the Government’s guidance and its impact and takes a look at what we might expect to see happen in the medium term.

Residential property market supressed

Research published in April by Zoopla showed that new property sales in the UK have fallen by 70 per cent since March 23, following the introduction of Government restrictions designed to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On that date, a range of new measures were announced, while the Government expressly asked people to refrain from moving home at this point in accordance with its guidance on social distancing. This, combined with the closure of estate agents’ branches and ongoing economic uncertainty, has led to an inevitable slowdown and supply shortage in the market.

Lenders have also responded by withdrawing a range of mortgage deals and reducing lending, particularly for buyers with limited deposits and on deals with a resulting higher loan to value (LTV).

However, according to Zoopla, sellers have largely continued to list their homes, with the number of properties for sale per estate agent only down one per cent since early March. Zoopla has also reported a rise in website traffic in recent weeks, following an earlier drop of 60 per cent.

The Government’s position

The Government has advised:

For homes that are vacant

“There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times.”

“When the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance… on home removals.

For homes that are not vacant

“Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move.”

What next?

The property market in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and the wider Thames Valley is typically a very healthy one and there is no reason to expect that this will change significantly in the medium term as lending opens up and confidence begins to return.

At the heart of the region, Reading remains one of the best connected and fastest growing towns or cities in the UK and indeed Europe.

Our specialist residential property team is here to help with you with home sales and purchases, whether you are in an existing chain that has slowed or stalled or you set a new move in motion in the coming months.

We are proud to work closely with, and to be routinely recommended by, leading estate agents in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and the surrounding areas and our dedicated team will work hard to ensure that your move is completed smoothly and on schedule, while adhering to the Government’s guidance on social distancing.

We can provide a cost-effective fee estimate and will remain in-touch and keep you informed at every stage of the process.

For further information or legal advice, please visit contact or call 0118 951 6800.

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