March 26th, 2020
According to UK property website Zoopla, the number of residential properties sold in the UK is expected to reduce by 60% in the next three months.
In the week before 22 March, before the nationwide lockdown, there was 40% less housing enquiries and 15% less sales.
Nationwide lockdown resulting from coronavirus outbreak, the government’s request for social distancing and advice to stay at home makes it impossible for buyers and renters to view properties in person.
The housing minister, Robert Jenrick said: “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.”
Noble Francis, an honorary professor at the Bartlett School of Construction of Project Management at UCL, said: “The estate agent sector is very volatile and tends to go hand in hand with the housing market so it suggests that estate agents will be very badly affected unless they can access government help for businesses quickly to sustain themselves until the housing market recovers.”
There is a possibility that some property agencies may collapse. “A 60% fall is probably optimistic given the challenges that lie ahead. Assuming we are once again back to normal by the summer it is unlikely that most buyers will be confident of making what for most is their biggest financial commitment before the new year,” said Henry Pryor, a housing expert.
According to the research by Savills, if a sharp drop in demand was extended until September, total transactions for 2020 would be between 566,000 and 745,000, compared with the 1.027m forecast last November. According to Savills, “suppressed demand would be expected to return relatively quickly to the market and we could see a return to normal levels by May 2021”.