Mortgage Advice Bureau, Landmark Information Group and Simplify issued a four-step plan to the government to get the housing sector operating after lifting the Covid-19 lockdown.
The three firms have together written to the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, to detail how the government can quickly get the sector operating again and critically, bridge the gap until momentum gathers.
Three of them are the highest-profile industry suppliers and house moving services.
What is that four-step plan for the revival of the housing sector?
The group’s proposals include:
- Getting the home moving market working quickly by defining a ‘safe move’. And ensuring that housing sector the first one to reopen under the phasing out of ‘stay at home’ measures.
- Making sure that the lenders protect those who were partway through a transaction to honour mortgage offers.
- Also providing a fiscal stimulus for the market, enabling a speedier recovery.
- Ensuring the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is extended for businesses operating in the home moving process beyond the restart of the market, to allow firms to rebuild income.
In addition, the group says that to give consumers the confidence to move, Public Health England endorsement of these proposals will be essential. Since writing to the Secretary of State shortly after the pause of the housing market, the group has in recent weeks held a number of virtual meetings with policymakers across government.
Simon Brown, chief executive of Landmark, said:
“We share government’s view that it is critical this crisis is a short, sharp shock to the economy rather than an extended depression. However, we are concerned that without a plan the housing market and home movers will experience the same uncertainty that followed the financial crisis. Protecting the housing market at this crucial time will help grow the UK economy and avoid a costly downward spiral. We know that the government is also keen to achieve this, and our priority is to work with them to ensure the right short- and medium-term decisions are taken.”
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Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, commented:
“Our businesses play a vital role in the home moving process. As a Group, we are market leaders in the provision of mortgage advice, surveys and conveyancing. We believe that we have a responsibility to join others who are campaigning on this and taking the lead in supporting the recovery of the wider sector at this critical time. We need a truly joined-up approach that recognises that all those working across our sector must be able to operate again, co-ordinating seamlessly, in order for the market to recover.”
David Grossman, chief executive of Simplify, added:
“Our focus is on ensuring that we are able to support the home moving process to restart in a way that is safe. We recognise that the government rightly took strong and decisive action to effectively pause the UK home moving market. At the appropriate time, it is critical that there is equally clear guidance to consumers and industry to allow the market to restart and to recover. Our priority is to work with government and others in the industry to establish this. While we know there are economic consequences from a dysfunctional housing market there are also significant social implications, making it essential that the market recovers as quickly as possible.”