The Government has urged people not to move to a new house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.
Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.
Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.
Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.
Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.
The Government said that while there “is no need to pull out of transactions”, “we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times”. Real estate investing.
If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals. Investment opportunities.
But if the house is occupied “we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move”. Investment property.
Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicted housing transactions would drop by up to 60% over the next three months.
Meanwhile, it said a “rapidly increasing” proportion of sales were falling through, as would-be buyers “reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times”.
Geoff Grant, aged 60 and his wife Tanya, aged 52, from Dorset had been hoping to move to a new house on 9 April.
However, Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa and the couple face having to pay rent to two landlords if their removal firm changes its mind about helping them move.
Mr Grant says there is already an overlap on the Leases – the agreement for the new rental property begins on 1 April while the existing one ends on 9 April.
“If the move is delayed, we’ll have to negotiate with two landlords,” he says.
As it stands, the removal company the couple is using, said at the beginning of the week it will still do the job. And while Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa on business, luckily his 20-year-old daughter is home from university to help lug boxes – at a six-foot distance from the removers of course.
Rival website Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been “significant”.
“The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters’ protections by the Government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents,” it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.