The news came as somewhat of a surprise to most estate agents. Alasdair Dunne, head of residential at Fisher German told the Guardian: “We thought we’d be included with other retail and it would be 1 June before we could reopen. Then all of a sudden it’s full speed ahead.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick emphasised that the restart of operations must still adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines and safety rules.
"Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals," Mr Jenrick said. "This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”
According to Zoopla, there are an estimated 400,000 sales that have been placed on hold.
In Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the property markets remain closed. Under the lockdown regulations, home viewings are not permitted, and land registries are running a reduced service, or not registering transactions.
Alistair Elliott, chairman and senior partner at estate agents Knight Frank, said the measures were "a major first step”.
"We believe the public will have confidence to re-engage with the housing market," he said.
Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of real estate consultants Garrington Property Finders, said: "Few things are more likely to make people want to move than being cooped up in the same four walls for weeks on end, and property portals have seen traffic increase by up to a fifth.”
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