£27bn in house sales lost to Covid

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Melissa Law­ford

AL­MOST £30bn of house sales were wiped out when the prop­erty mar­ket col­lapsed dur­ing the lock­down, re­search sug­gests.

A to­tal of 124,000 sales worth £27bn were lost when nor­mal life was put on hold at the height of the pan­demic, ac­cord­ing to Zoopla.

But the com­pany said de­mand is surg­ing af­ter a tem­po­rary stamp duty cut, with house price growth ex­pected to con­tinue un­til the end of the year.

The mar­ket shut­down meant that 20pc fewer sales were agreed in the first six months of 2020 than a year ear­lier, Zoopla said. De­mand is now run­ning above nor­mal as buy­ers make up for lost time, mean­ing its an­a­lysts ex­pect sales to be 15pc down in to­tal this year.

Weekly sales vol­umes are up nearly 50pc on pre-Covid lev­els. Lon­don has ben­e­fited most from Chan­cel­lor Rishi Su­nak’s stamp duty hol­i­day, which ex­empts homes worth un­der £500,000 en­tirely.

Newly agreed sales in the cap­i­tal jumped by 27pc in the two weeks af­ter the tax cut was an­nounced, com­pared to a 6pc rise across the rest of Eng­land.

An­nual house price growth in June was 2.7pc, mean­ing the av­er­age Bri­tish prop­erty is worth £219,500.

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