The housing dreams of millions of people may have been dashed by coronavirus because many self-employed workers fear that they could struggle to get a mortgage in future.
These workers, many of whom have seen their income fluctuate, if not disappear, during the Covid-19 outbreak, are concerned they could find it harder to get access to finance.
Families who were ready to step on to the next rung of the housing ladder are also worried that purchases could be delayed by more than a year.
A report by Trussle, an online mortgage broker, found that would-be buyers expected to wait more than five months on average before they resume their property search. This would mean few transactions taking place before winter, which is usually a quiet period for the property market.
At the start of the year, Lucy Rees, of Wrington in Somerset, thought her family were about to move to a larger property. “We need more space for our three-year-old and five-year-old,” she said. “We were going to put our house on the market in January, but stupidly we didn’t.”
The housing market was then effectively closed by the Government, leaving the family in limbo.
Mrs Rees, 39, said she and her husband, Gary, were concerned they might struggle to get a mortgage once the crisis subsides. Both work as self-employed personal trainers and Mrs Rees estimated that she had lost a quarter of her clients, while her husband had lost half.
Although other clients have requested extra classes, Mrs Rees and other self-employed people are concerned that banks may not look kindly on customers whose incomes have fluctuated wildly.