Transactions drop by 60%
The number of homes sold in the UK is expected to fall by 60% in the next three months, according to the property website Zoopla.
There was a 40% drop in housing enquiries for the week to 22 March, the week before the nationwide lockdown, and new sales agreed fell by 15% on the previous week.
The trend is expected to worsen considerably in the coming months. The need for physical distancing and government advice to stay at home mean buyers and renters are unable to view properties in person. Some estate agents have switched to virtual viewings.
The housing minister, Robert Jenrick, said on Twitter this week: “Buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place. If moving is unavoidable because you’re contracted and the parties aren’t able to agree a delay, you must follow advice on social distancing when moving.”
Separate research from the upmarket estate agents Savills said that if a sharp drop in demand was extended until September, total transactions for 2020 would be between 566,000 and 745,000, compared with over 1m forecast last November.