Housing market bounces back with 137% increase in sales

Experts warn that backlog after lockdown freeze may be causing ‘temporary jump’

UK housing market
(Image credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Property sales in England have rebounded to pre-coronavirus levels, with the number of new sales agreed rising by 137% since the housing market reopened last month.

More homes were sold last week than the same time last year, and buyer demand is 54% stronger than it was before the government effectively suspended the sector on 27 March, reports The Times.

Richard Donnell, director of research at property portal Zoopla, says the boost in sales is down to a mix of factors and “is not solely explained by a return of pent-up demand”.

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“Covid has brought a whole new group of would-be buyers into the housing market,” he explained. “Activity has grown across all pricing levels, but the higher the value of a home, the greater the increase in supply and sales as people look to trade up.”

However, London is yet to see the same level of rebound as the rest of the country, reports Property Reporter.

“New sales in London are lagging as buyers look at commuting and moving to the regions,” said Donnell.

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Four weeks after the unfreezing of the market, property sales in the capital remain 24.8% lower than before the coronavirus lockdown, reports The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Scotland and Wales have continued to record low levels of new sales as their housing markets remain closed, but a rebound boost is expected once business resumes.

However, experts have warned that the nationwide sales surge could be short-lived.

“The charts are off the scale but I do think this is a one-off surge in demand, a temporary jump,” Donnell said. “No one truly knows what the economic impact [of Covid-19] is going to be. The housing market is purely an extension of the economy and I am very cautious about the second half of the year.”

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