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Newly agreed property sales down 70% but demand is in line with Christmas 2018

8th April 2020

  • New sales agreed have fallen sharply (70%) since the start of the lockdown (24th March) and estate agencies temporarily closed for business

  • New demand for property has fallen by 70% over the last month amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but it is now bottoming out

  • Meanwhile, after an initial decrease, online browsing of property has started to increase over the last week (to 5th April)

  • Fall-throughs peaked on the day of the lockdown (24th March) but are now running at levels seen in normal market conditions

  • Weaker demand has resulted in fewer properties coming to market since 24th March, but the number of homes for sale, per estate agent, is just 1% lower than on 7 March

8th April 2020, London: The number of new property sales agreed in the UK has fallen by 70% since the government imposed lockdown came into effect on 24th March, according to Zoopla - the UK’s most comprehensive property destination.

Demand for housing began to fall two weeks ahead of the lockdown as consumers responded to the emerging pandemic. Since then, the fall in demand has bottomed out and is now consistent with levels recorded at Christmas 2018, with households continuing to express interest in homes even though they can not view them at present.

Meanwhile, property browsing figures started to stabilise in the week to 5th April, after falling in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown.

Properties were continuing to sell and were newly listed for sale up until the lockdown, but the number of new sales agreed has fallen sharply since then as restrictions around movement preclude house viewings. Some sales are still being agreed, but at levels 70% lower than registered at the start of the lockdown. Sales agreed are being sustained by buyers who viewed property before the social distancing policy was introduced.

The number of sales falling through peaked on the day of the lockdown (24th March) and has fallen back to levels recorded in normal market conditions..

The knock-on effect of weaker demand is that fewer properties are coming on to the market, and are also down by a similar level as sales agreed. However, the number of homes for sale - per estate agent - is just 1% lower than it was on 7th March as vendors and agents maintain live listings.

Commenting on the data, Richard Donnell, Research & Insight Director, Zoopla said:  “The impact of coronavirus on the property market might be far-reaching, but after a rapid decline in market activity most indicators are now stabilising at levels well down in what would be expected at this time of year. So much so that market activity is currently in line with that recorded over Christmas 2018, when the market backdrop was weak and consumers were also grappling with Brexit uncertainty.

“While the recent drop in activity has been sharp, the market has not ground to standstill. There is still activity going on, just at much lower rates than you would expect in a busy spring market. Consumers continue to engage with what is on the market and contact estate agents, planning ahead for when restrictions are eventually lifted.”



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