Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said that people should avoid selling their homes or renting somewhere new while the crisis continues as it would be safer to stay put during the outbreak.
Estate agents are bracing themselves for a crash in the market as people avoid going to open houses, while sellers are reluctant to put homes on the market.
Mr Gove said: “If is possible to pause.
“There will be specific circumstances where moving down that chain, the process that will mean buying or selling homes.
“But one of the things I would stress, if at all possible, people should stay in their current homes.”
Estate agents have said that potential buyers have cancelled viewings following Government advice to stay at home, meaning homeowners have found it difficult to sell.
One estate agent said viewings had fallen by 75 per cent and expected the figure to fall further.
Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent in north London, said: “If you are in a chain, it only needs one link to be someone working in the entertainment or travel business who is feeling uncertain about the future, and you have a problem.”
Mr Leaf said many people would be holding off until the coronavirus situation became clearer, and said that some homes sales may well be renegotiated.
He said: “If demand drops, property prices are likely to fall with it. If that is the case, renegotiation will take place, but it is still far too early for that.”
Estate agents were trying to sell property virtually using video conferencing calls.
But analysts believe the market will bounce back once the coronavirus lockdown ends.
Mike Scott, Chief Property Analyst at estate agency Yopa, said the housing market was on an “upward trend” before the measures.
He said: “The pandemic emergency is now affecting the housing market – as it is affecting every facet of our lives – but these figures show that the underlying trend is positive and the market should come bounding back once the crisis has passed.”