BUSINESS AS USUAL
Here is the report from the BBC news website:
The government has set out plans to restart England's housing market, which has been in deep freeze since the coronavirus lockdown.
From Wednesday, estate agents can open, viewings can be carried out and removal firms and conveyancers can restart operations.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the changes must be carried out under social distancing and safety rules.
It is estimated there are 450,000 buyers and renters with plans on hold.
"Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals," Mr Jenrick said.
"This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so."
Meanwhile, the property markets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain shut.
Home viewings are not permitted under lockdown regulations and their land registries are either running a reduced service or are not registering transactions.
In another move to unlock the housing market, Mr Jenrick announced a series of measures for the house building sector, including:
Allowing builders to agree more flexible working hours with their local council, such as staggering arrival times to ease pressure on public transport
Enabling local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media, instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets
Providing support for smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils to ease cash flow
Care must be taken to keep strict social distancing - and from our point of view it will be baby steps, taking care and consideration with each individual case.