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Coronavirus: RICS demands clear signs on reopening Northern Ireland housing market

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The Executive has been urged to provide clarity on when activity in the housing market such as inspections and valuations can restart. (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

The Executive has been urged to provide clarity on when activity in the housing market such as inspections and valuations can restart. (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

The Executive has been urged to provide clarity on when activity in the housing market such as inspections and valuations can restart. (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

The Executive has been urged to provide clarity on when activity in the housing market such as inspections and valuations can restart.

Trade body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said more details on housing market activity would help pave the way for economic recovery following Covid-19.

Almost all activity in the housing market has stopped, with the Executive saying house moves cannot take place unless "absolutely necessary".

Earlier this week the Government set out plans to restart England's housing market, allowing estate agents to open and viewings to be carried out.

The Executive's five-step roadmap to recovery, published on Tuesday, does not mention the housing market specifically.

Yesterday, RICS policy manager Patrice Cairns said: "What the housing market needs first and foremost is clarity, and an unambiguous signal from the NI Executive that the house buying and selling process, including inspections and valuations within clear parameters of public health, can restart."

RICS has also called on the Government to introduce measures to boost confidence such as a stamp duty holiday.

Ms Cairns said: "The NI Executive now has the opportunity to pave the way for a resilient post Covid-19 recovery. Measures to support scaling up retrofitting of existing homes should be prioritised both as an economic stimulus and as a kick start towards a healthier and greener housing stock for Northern Ireland."

But in a statement last night, the Executive said: "The five-step approach gives an indication of how the restrictions on different aspects of life may be eased at various stages.

"It is not possible to define specific permitted activities in advance of decisions that will be taken by the Executive at various stages.

"The Executive has committed to keeping the regulations under regular review and will not keep any measure in place longer than is necessary."

Belfast Telegraph