The Scottish housing market is to re-open on Monday 29th June, it has been announced.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told parliament today that there will be a ‘relaxation of restrictions’ on home moves under its Phase 2 plans, although lettings agency branches will remain closed until Phase 3 is enacted in mid-August.

“A key change is that a home move will no longer have to be reasonably necessary; home moves will be permitted,” the guidance says.

The Scottish government has yet to confirm if letting agency’s high street branches can re-open. One industry insider has told Landlord ZONE that he believes the announcement allows smaller branches to open if they observe social distancing and hygiene rules, but that companies with large offices will have wait until Phase 3.

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Scotland’s rental market has taken a battering during the lockdown although less so than its sales sector. Rightmove has revealed today that rental properties coming on to the market dropped by 40% compared a 90% fall among properties for sale.

Rental demand

“Rental demand dropped by 50% compared to last year but is now actually up 15% on last year, in anticipation of the Scottish housing market being able to reopen,” the portal says.

It had been hoped that Wales would also publish its roadmap for a reopening of the property rental and sales markets but nothing was announced during its First Minister’s Covid-19 update today.

Scotland has taken the most enlightened and arguable more ‘planned’ approach to its rental market, publishing a roadmap several weeks ago in order to give landlords more time to plan ahead.

It has also offered landlords with struggling tenants financial support, on top of the existing mortgage payment deferment scheme offered throughout the UK via the major lenders.

Northern Ireleand’s housing market re-opened on Monday.

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