Runcorn Families in Limbo Due to Coronavirus
Thu 07 May 2020
An immediate fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is that it has placed many Runcorn families house moves on hold. Government guidelines state all house buyers and house sellers who are in the process of selling their home in Runcorn and moving to a new house 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 house move ‘on ice’ during lockdown.
However, where the house being moved into is vacant, government guidance states that you can continue with this transaction, although you must observe the government’s guidance on house removals. There are also exceptions allowed where existing accommodation becomes unfit 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 has implemented a standard legal process for delaying completion dates.
So, what does all this mean for the people of Runcorn?
It means the house moves of 203 Runcorn families have been put on hold since the coronavirus restrictions brought the UK housing market mainly to a halt in late March.
These are Runcorn 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 203 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 Runcorn property sold subject to contract amounts to £31,434,000
The pandemic hit just as the Runcorn market had been experiencing the ‘Boris bounce following his general election landslide in December. It appears talking to my team and other agents in Runcorn, 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 Runcorn homeowners in limbo mentioned above are moving up the property ladder, and while being ‘in limbo’, it has made them realise more than ever that the houses 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 Runcorn. Currently, 13 families are looking to make that move, yet unable to as tenants are under the same restrictions as house-buyers. This means they too cannot do a physical viewing nor can they move house during lockdown unless the existing accommodation becomes unfit 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. 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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