An immediate fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic is that it has placed many Chelmsford families house moves on hold. Government guidelines state all house buyers and house sellers who are in the process of selling their Chelmsford house 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 Governments guidance on house 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 Chelmsford?

This means the house moves of 660 Chelmsford families have been put on hold since the coronavirus restrictions brought the UK housing market mainly to a halt in late March.

These are Chelmsford 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 660 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 Chelmsford property sold subject to contract amounts to £262,548,000

The pandemic hit just as the Chelmsford market had been experiencing the Boris Bounce following his General Election landslide in December. It appears talking to my team and other agents in Chelmsford, 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 Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford. Currently there are 62 families 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 where 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.

For more information on the Chelmsford Property Market – please follow me on social media for more up to date articles on the local property market.

About Neil Baldock

Born and bred in Chelmsford, Neil went to Tyrells and The Boswells School and still lives in Springfield. A former police officer, Neil is an excellent problem solver for our clients. Neil oversees the Lettings, Property Management and Maintenance portfolio here at CDC and is able to offer specialist advice on all aspects of buy to let and property investment in Chelmsford and all areas of Essex. Neil is happy to offer advice to landlords even where the property is not being purchased through our agency and would welcome an informal chat with you regarding your investments. Neil is also well versed in HMO Management as we are one of the only agencies in Chelmsford which has a specialist HMO and rooms to rent department. Neil is Matthews younger brother and has a son named Michael.

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