The housing market was effectively put on pause by the government at the end of March 2020, as a result of Covid-19. Families who needed to move were unable to do so, and the industry – which plays a critical role in supporting UK economic growth – faced a very uncertain future. The sector needed to be one of the first to be able to start operating again but had to be able to demonstrate to government and consumers that this could be done safely.
WA was appointed to help by three of the largest businesses supporting the home moving process: leading search and property information provider Landmark Information Group; mortgage intermediary Mortgage Advice Bureau; and the UK’s largest conveyancing business, Simplify.
We quickly developed a blueprint for the recovery of the housing market, creating a four-stage plan for industry and government action in order to protect consumers, industry, and jobs. Following a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, we met virtually with advisers and senior officials in the No10 policy unit, the Ministry for Housing and the Department for Business to make the case for urgent government policy action. We briefed key parliamentarians including the Chair and members of the Housing Select Committee, securing their support for the careful reopening of the market.
We built a detailed and compelling case for the coalition’s proposals, using modelling and evidence to secure support for each. We worked with other industry stakeholders to ensure there was a strong cross-industry message being delivered to government, and to support the development of detailed ‘safe move’ guidance.
The government announced in mid-May that the housing market would be reopening, with industry-developed guidance launched to maintain social distancing. Our intensive work helped secure an early relaunch of the housing market before most other parts of the economy and earlier than many in the industry expected. The government’s approach followed the blueprint and language we had proposed. This announcement provided a boost to a crucial part of the UK economy and will have significant social benefits.
Meetings with senior government and political decision makers
Pieces of industry media coverage on the group’s blueprint for reopening the housing market
Percent increase in house sales in the week after the government allowed moves to recommence