Homebuyers face a frustrating wait to complete their purchases, despite the Government ban on surveyors visiting properties being lifted.
The housing market was kickstarted on Wednesday after the Government said it would allow property transactions to resume. However, there are fears that it could be weeks before many would-be buyers will benefit from the re-opened market.
Mortgage lenders such as Halifax and HSBC said they planned to resume physical valuations as soon as Monday. However, there are warnings that it could take weeks to clear the backlog built up during the property market shutdown.
This could mean that banks restrict lending to first-time buyers and others with small deposits for some time yet.
Since the start of the crisis, banks have restricted their mortgages to customers with large deposits. In these cases, valuations can be carried out remotely, using computer modelling to estimate the value of a house.
First-time buyers had effectively been frozen out from the market, as their valuations required a physical property inspection. The ban of property visits has now been lifted, but it will take time for surveyors to deal with the number of outstanding cases.
Alex Lawton, who is in the process of buying a home, said his surveyor had told him he faces a wait of more than a month before an inspection can be carried out.
“Even with the advice yesterday, it’s going to be mid to late June before they can start viewing houses which is massively frustrating,” he said.
Aaron Strutt of Trinity Financial, a mortgage broker, said some banks would have tens of thousands of existing cases to deal with before they could open up to new customers.
“Banks will start to slowly lower their deposit requirements but they need to get through the valuation backlog first,” he warned.
So far, only Yorkshire Building Society has announced that it will boost lending to borrowers with smaller deposits. It will offer loans to buyers with a 15pc deposit from Friday, having restricted loans to customers with a 25pc deposit at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Strutt said: “If customers delay their applications they could find themselves at the back of a long queue.”