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Northern Ireland housing market re-opens

The Northern Ireland property market re-opens today following an announcement on Thursday 11th June that estate agents can open their offices and viewings and valuations of houses can take place.

The housing market had essentially been paused for three months during the Coronavirus pandemic, with house moves allowed in very limited circumstances. Prior to the changes announced last week, house purchases could only complete if the properties were vacant and the moves took place with adherence to social distancing rules. Potential purchases were further frustrated by a large number of conveyancing solicitor firms being closed, builders having to pause work on developments due to suppliers closing, and surveyors unable to carry out property valuations and inspections.

The news will have been welcomed by potential first time buyers and home movers in Northern Ireland, which include many people who were in temporary accommodation when the lockdown began. Purchasers should however expect an understandably different experience when viewing a property. Estate agents will be encouraging the use of virtual viewings, and physical viewings will involve restrictions around the number of people allowed in the property, strict infection control procedures before and after viewing, and a limit to the amount of contact with items in the property.

Ian Creighton, Director of the residential property conveyancing department at Wilson Nesbitt commented:

“Living with family or in other temporary accommodation can be difficult in normal circumstances, but having all the children out of school and one or more adults trying to work from home makes the need for adequate housing all the more essential.

We have a large number of clients who were caught between properties when the restrictions were imposed, and while some moves into vacant properties were able to complete, many have been waiting for the news we received on Thursday of last week. Our team have already been receiving a large increase in enquiries from new and existing clients and have been working diligently throughout the lockdown to make sure we were ready for today when the market re-opened.”

If you are buying or selling a house, and need a property conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal process for you, get in touch with one of our experts by clicking here.

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