The Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh property markets are waking up – are you?


Since the re-opening of the property market in England on 13th May, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have patiently waited for the announcement that their markets would also reopen.  Now, Scotland and Ireland have announced their markets can fully open, with a partial re-opening for Wales. So how has England responded since its restrictions were lifted and will neighbouring countries follow suit?

How has England responded since the market re-opened?

The property market in England has responded well since restrictions were lifted and have witnessed a flurry of activity of those wanting to complete on sales. Many homeowners have either had a change in circumstances or have simply re-evaluated the space in their homes during the lockdown. “Following the initial shock of the early reopening of the housing market, England is getting moving again with a boom in traffic’, advises Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside. This movement is indicative that the market in England can begin to gain momentum, build economic recovery, and catch up on itself.

Are people wanting to move?

Rightmove has seen some of its busiest ever days since the lockdown began to ease, with a record number of people visiting their site, including a staggering 955,000 hours collectively spent on the site during 6th June.

Whether these positive signs of movement are short-lived, is yet to be seen.  With each country in the UK following its own path of re-opening, what are the key points and conditions that have been applied to each of the markets for re-opening?

Here we highlight the key changes for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Northern Ireland: First Minister, Arlene Foster, has announced the re-opening of its property market. “This will incorporate the full end-to-end process from viewing to securing a mortgage and the house move itself”. This is good news for the Northern Irish economy as it has suffered a large decline since the beginning of lockdown. “Northern Ireland’s housing market has been the most negatively affected throughout the U.K.”, said Ms Foster as may are employed within the property sector.

What happens now and what are the new rules for Northern Ireland?

The Government have stated that the market is fully open, however with conditions:

  • All home tours are be limited as much as possible.
  • Open houses are banned.
  • A risk assessment regarding the health of sellers and buyers must be carried out prior to any essential viewings.
  • The guidelines also advise sellers, if possible, to leave their homes when anyone visits in relation to viewing, inspection or surveying.

In all circumstances, all social distancing guidelines must be adhered to.

For more information from the Northern Irish government, click here

Scotland:  The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that the Scottish property market can reopen on June 28th. “A key change is that a home move will no longer have to be reasonably necessary; home moves will be permitted” states Ms Sturgeon. The lifting of Phase 1 restrictions means the Scottish Government have now entered phase 2 of their economic recovery.

Demand in Scotland varies, but rural areas and coastal areas are seeing the greatest levels of interest. Savills estate agent has also reported a surge of buyers in England, particularly in the South East, registering their interest against properties in Scotland. According to Rightmove, data shows that new listings had dropped by more than 90% in Scotland since lockdown began, so this news of the market re-opening will be very welcomed by all.

What happens now and what are the new rules for Scotland?

As phase 2 begins, the following is now permitted:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;
  • preparing a residential property to move in;
  • moving home; or
  • visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

Phase 2 states that all social distancing and health guidelines must be followed at all times. Virtual viewings are still being advised to reduce any contamination risk.

As part of the phased opening, estate agents offices and lettings agency branches are not allowed to open under phase 2 and will remain closed until Phase 3 is given the go-ahead (which is expected to be in mid-August). 

For more information from the Scottish government, click here


First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has announced a series of restrictions to be lifted this week, including a partial re-opening of the property market. Unlike the rest of the UK, Wales has not fully relaxed all restrictions for the property sector yet.


The impact of not fully opening the property market has raised concerns with the Conveyancing Association (CA) and they have urged the Welsh Government to go ‘further and faster’ is reopening its housing market. There will be two clear months difference between the dates of the markets in England and Wales re-opening and the CA fear Wales will potentially fall behind in its economic recovery of this sector.

What happens now and what are the new rules for Wales?

The ‘partial’ re-opening means home moves can go ahead, with restrictions:

  • The move can go ahead providing the property has been vacant for at least 72 hours.
  • People can move whereby a sale has been agreed but not yet completed.
  • The marketing and viewing of unoccupied residential properties can once again take place.
  • Property valuations and inspections are allowed provided they are carried out in line with social distancing measures.

For more information from the Welsh government, click here.

Are you ready to make your move?

Early signs are positive and see the UK property market beginning to bounce back, but for how long this spike will last for is yet to be seen. Zoopla and Rightmove continue to report a significant increase in enquiries exceeding figures before lockdown in March began. This movement is indicative that the market is beginning to gain traction and if you are wanting to get ahead of the game and sell your home, National Property Trade can certainly help.

We can help you navigate any of the new changes affecting the UK property market, please contact us today to discuss your options.