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Three-Tier Lockdown Mortgages

The restrictions come as the property market enjoys a strong rebound in solid price growth, with first-time buyers and Remortgages being in high demand since the first national lockdown.

Three-Tier Lockdown: What does this mean for Mortgages?

Boris Johnson announced that as of today, Wednesday 14th October, parts of the United Kingdom especially the Northern parts of the country, will be placed in a three-tier lockdown to tackle the coronavirus from spreading.

The restrictions come as the property market enjoys a strong rebound in solid price growth, with first-time buyers and Remortgages being in high demand since the first national lockdown.

What does the three-tier system mean for mortgages and estate agents?

Under the new advice given by the tory government, estate agents, mortgage advisors and lenders will remain open to the public across England, with physical and virtual viewings and meetings going ahead as normal. However, the wearing of face coverings and keeping to social distancing guidelines is mandatory.

While the latest lockdown measures may make viewing properties more difficult in some areas, they are unlikely to dent the current high level of interest from first-time buyers.

We’ve already seen how lockdown led people carrying out re-evaluation on their homes and lifestyle, with the local restrictions placed on South Yorkshire we will continue to support, particularly for those who are more financially secure.

The Different Tiers:

Tier 1 - medium alert

In tier one areas property viewings can continue to take place as long as anti-coronavirus measures are taken and there are no more than six people in the property at one time.

Such measures include the wearing of face coverings, regular hand washing, keeping doors and windows open for good ventilation during the viewing, and only two prospective buyers from the same household entering the property at a time.

Open house viewings are not allowed at this time.

If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household viewing, shows symptoms of Covid-19 or is self-isolating, then an in-person viewing should be delayed.

Most areas of England currently fall into this tier.

Tier 2 – high alert

Anyone living in a tier two area must follow all of the tier one rules, and also not meet with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, including their home or a public place.

However, the current government advice states that in-person property viewings can still take place, with appropriate precautions.

Nevertheless, the ban on meeting people outside of your household or support bubble indoors means that some buyers or sellers may decide to suspend property viewings or only undertake them virtually.

Areas that fall into this tier currently include parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Warrington, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the North East, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Leicester and Nottingham.

Tier 3 – very high alert

Tier three is reserved for areas where transmission rates of Covid-19 are causing the greatest concern.

People living in these areas are not allowed to meet anybody outside of their household or support bubble in an indoor or outdoor setting. Restrictions in this tier are likely to have the biggest impact on the property market.

Although government guidelines don’t currently state that in-person viewings are banned in tier three regions, it can be assumed that in many cases estate agents, sellers and buyers will decide against going to see properties while restrictions are in place, unless they have no other option.

That said, renewed lockdown measures may also heighten people’s desire to move if they are unhappy with their current accommodation.

In England, tier three currently only applies to Liverpool and the surrounding area, where the housing market is currently on a strong footing with price growth driven by rising demand of 3.4% recorded in the year to the end of September.

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