UK housing demand soars since Covid lockdown ended | Business


Demand for homes has skyrocketed since the lockdown ended, according to a report from Zoopla, with three- and four-bedroom homes with space to work from home particularly popular.Properties are selling much faster than before the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the report, as buyers returned to the market. The time it takes to list a home before finding a buyer has fallen to just 27 days since restrictions were eased, down from 39 days for the same period in 2019.

Large houses in the countryside move the fastest, while urban apartments generally intended for first-time buyers are now the slowest market segment.

“Four- and five-bed homes are selling 33% faster than in 2019, as buyers prioritize more space and broaden their search criteria – leaving cities, suburbs and suburban belts more expensive while allowing their budgets to stretch further. During this time, apartments take the longest time to sell, ”the property’s website says.

He said sales of homes listed on his platform were 76% above the five-year average, due to pent-up demand since the foreclosure and the temporary reduction in stamp duties on properties to 500,000. £ heralded by Rishi Sunak as the centerpiece of his summer financial statement in July.

Potential buyers also find little choice, with the inventory of homes for sale from realtors down 3% from last year’s levels.

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The robustness of the housing market stands in stark contrast to the state of the UK economy, which contracted far more than that of any other developed country in the second quarter of 2020, according to OECD figures. Richard Donnell of Zoopla said: “The ‘once in a lifetime’ reassessment of housing needs following the foreclosure is a counterweight to the impact of the recession on the UK property market.”

The usual housing market slowdown in August has all but disappeared this year, with holiday season sales 78% higher than last year. However, as schools reopen and the government’s vacation program and other aid rolls out, the real estate market could be “called into question,” Zoopla said.

Most property forecasters feared lower prices for the UK property market in 2020, with Savills saying in June that he expected prices to drop 7.5% this year, followed by a rebound of 5%. % next year.

But Halifax reported earlier this month that house prices in Britain hit a new high in July, in a “surprising peak”. The bank said a ‘mini boom’ in the market pushed average property values ​​up 1.6% – or £ 3,770 – month-over-month in July and meant the rate of growth annual increase to 3.8%.

Zoopla now predicts that house prices will end the year 2-3% higher than at the start: “Extensive government support for the economy and the labor market, as well as support for mortgage holders , reduced the number of forced sellers and limited the decline. for house prices. As the economy has contracted sharply and unemployment rises, consumer spending has rebounded and various surveys of economic activity point to a broader rebound in the economy. “

Buyers are looking outside of cities, suburbs and the suburban belt, according to the report. Photograph: Paul Doyle / Alamy

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Wednesday issued new guidelines to mortgage lenders, telling them to extend the tolerance to households reaching the end of their payment holiday but still in financial difficulty.

About two million people have taken mortgage vacations since the start of the pandemic, or about one in six of all UK mortgages. Applications under the mortgage holiday program can be made until October 31.

In its letter to lenders, the FCA said it expects “customers [should] receive appropriate forbearance which is in their best interest after considering their personal circumstances ”, and“ companies [should] accompany their customers during a period of payment difficulties ”.

Charlotte Nixon, Mortgage Expert at Quilter Financial Planning, said: “Assuming payment holidays are not extended beyond October, it is clear that the onus is still on lenders to help clients get through this difficult period. ”


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