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What Impact Will Coronavirus Have on UK Residential Development?

The coronavirus pandemic will affect all aspects of the UK housing market, according to a new report by Savills, particularly impacting transaction levels as people’s ability to work and move is limited. The firm looked at what impact the coronavirus is likely to have on housing delivery and land supply, both in terms of activity over the coming months and the longer-term implications for the flow of land through the development pipeline.

Savills reported: “The economic outlook is highly uncertain, with economists becoming more bearish about the depth of recession in Q2 2020. At this early stage, it is unclear what form and how long the recovery will take. When restrictions are lifted, the release of pent up demand will support the strength of bounce back in the economy. However, should business and consumer confidence be slow to return then the Government’s focus will turn to measures that support the speed of recovery in all affected parts of the economy, including housebuilding.”

Development activity
As government measures to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak have intensified, the majority of the biggest housebuilders have decided to shut down operations on site as well as closing sales offices and show homes in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The official government guidance advises that construction sites can remain open, with Site Operating Procedures that align with public health guidance published by the Construction Leadership Council.

However, due to the difficulty of ensuring social distancing measures on busy sites, many developers have also taken the decision to halt construction. Action taken has varied, with some housebuilders fully shutting down all site operations whilst others are remaining open with strict precautions in place to finish off sites nearing completion and sites where essential work is required to protect customers.

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