Property market update, entertaining the family and Nessun Dorma!
Human nature would appear able to adapt to any environment, any uncertainty and concerns, no more so than in the current challenging environment of the Covid-19 pandemic. While there will obviously be an impact on the UK property market (details to follow), days and potentially weeks of lockdown have been broken by unexpected fun, laughter and new friendships. While Noel Edmonds brought us the original “House Party” there has been a huge revival for a 2016 phone app of the same name, which is connecting families and friends across not only the country but the world.

The “Houseparty” phone app

To start on a brighter note, a phone app which allows “face-to-face social networking” is nothing new, quizzes, games and video chats are commonplace. However, the Houseparty phone app, available on android, iOS, iPad OS and Mac OS is taking the world by storm. The growing flow of interactive quizzes, music and laughter has injected a new optimism across the UK. Cabin fever is no more and people are certainly making the most of their prolonged time together. Long may this continue!

UK property market

If you cast your mind back to the 2008 financial crisis, nobody really knew how long it would last, the short, medium and long-term impact and whether things would change forever. There seems to be a similar feeling amidst the concern and confusion surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. When will it end, when will economies recover and what will happen to property prices? While the headlines confirm there has been a 40% decline in demand for property over the last week we can take for granted a similar if not greater fall in transaction volumes. Indeed, the UK government has tentatively suggested that the UK property market should be “frozen” with no house moves concluded and all deals on hold. Quite how this would work is unclear at the moment with funding available, contracts signed and property chains already in flow. This is a developing story and one which is difficult to predict with any great confidence.

Complete ban on evictions

The UK authorities have introduced a complete ban on evictions (lasting at least 90 days) which also affects those evictions currently in progress. There is every chance this ban will be extended as and when the impact on the UK property market and economy becomes clearer. In tandem with this move, the UK government also announced mortgage payment holidays for those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buy to let mortgages limited

In the first signs that the UK mortgage market is reacting to the potentially extended Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the UK property market, many buy to let mortgage products have been withdrawn. At this moment in time it is still business as usual for the majority of lenders with significant flexibility in areas such as property valuations. However, if other lenders decide to withdraw their buy to let mortgage products this will impact those looking to remortgage or coming to the end of their current mortgage term.

Save money on your MOT!

Having just renewed my MOT, this six-month suspension on MOT tests will not impact my bank balance but there are thousands out there who will benefit! This exemption will apply to cars, motorbikes and vans and allow those who would maybe have struggled to cover MOT repairs to continue carrying out essential tasks. The UK already boasts a 700,000 volunteer army ready, able and willing to pick up the fight for the NHS in these times of need. So, a six-month suspension on MOTs has come at a perfect time for many of these guardian angels.

Last but not least, Nessun Dorma!

Amidst the concern and confusion, fear and the dread there is just a little twinkle of human nature at its best. As the UK prepares to go into total lockdown, Italian counterparts have been showing the way with neighbours singing Nessun Dorma from their windows! As many in the UK plan a virtual party with their friends this weekend, via the “Houseparty” app, the meaning of the phrase “Nessun Dorma” is probably never more apt – “Let no one sleep”. Enjoy the party, sleep tight, ready to fight another day…..

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