Trans­ac­tions drop by 60%

The Guardian - - News Coronaviru­s - Ju­lia Kollewe

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.

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