Chaos for the housing market as banks stop mortgage lending


Chaos for the housing market as banks stop mortgage lending and Michael Gove tells home-buyers ‘don’t exchange contracts’

  • Michael Gove urged people to stay put and not move house during pandemic 
  • Lenders have also stopped mortgage lending, throwing housing market in chaos 
  • Moving companies are cancelling jobs during crisis, making moves impossible 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The housing market has been thrown into chaos amid the coronavirus outbreak with the government urging people not to move homes and banks stopping mortgage lending. 

Amid a country-wide lockdown with restrictions on movement and socialising, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested yesterday that people should cancel plans to exchange house contracts or rent somewhere new and stay home.

He also suggested that those who already have exchanged contracts should complete their moves to their new houses. 

However, moving companies are cancelling jobs amid the pandemic, leaving people unable to move in.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested yesterday that people should cancel plans to move house 

Economic fears and a lack of staff because of self-isolation and the lockdown have also led to lenders not giving out home loans to buyers. 

Michael Gove said yesterday: ‘If it is possible, pause.

‘There will be specific circumstances where moving down that chain, the process that will mean buying or selling homes.

‘But one of the things I would stress, if at all possible, people should stay in their current homes.’ 

Henry Pryor, a buying agent, told the Times: ‘The easy advice is don’t go through with it. 

‘Getting a survey will be impossible. Finding a removals company who can guarantee to be available in six weeks time will be harder still.’

Economic fears and a lack of staff because of self-isolation and the lockdown have also led to lenders not giving out home loans

Economic fears and a lack of staff because of self-isolation and the lockdown have also led to lenders not giving out home loans

Among lender, Barclays have set a limit on how many applications it can deal with on a daily basis, due to staff shortages. 

It has also withdrawn some residential tracker mortgages and all of its landlord products. 

Buy-to-let lender Together will not be lending during the crisis, while West Bromwich Building Society has limited its lending. 

Virgin Money has put all valuations on hold while Pepper Money will not be lending to self-employed people.  

Estate agents up and down the country are also feeling the affects of the government policy. 

Many have said that viewings have been cancelled during the crisis, after the government told people to stay at home. 

One estate agent revealed that viewings had fallen by 75 per cent and expected the figure to fall further.

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