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The housing market in Lockdown 2

Sale figures continue to grow

The UK’s second lockdown restrictions may provide an unexpected boost for the housing market, as parts of the conveyancing system struggle under the pressure of high volumes of transactions.

Knight Frank estate agents research showed that the number of viewings that took place between Monday and Thursday last week was 15% lower than the previous week. However, the number of valuation appraisals was 38% higher over the same period.

Exchanges were also 11% higher between Monday and Thursday last week, reflecting the trend highlighted last month of how the number of exchanges continues to grow on the back of high numbers of deals going under offer in recent months.

The early days of the second national lockdown are bearing little resemblance to that of the first, according to Knight Frank. Agents have remained open and the high volume of transactions agreed since the market re-started in May will continue to progress.

However, a number of factors have shifted. Knight Frank said that some agents have said their diary became quieter after the lockdown was announced. Part of that was caused by some initial confusion around whether the property market was remaining open, which it is.

Some buyers and sellers are understandably taking extra precautions and delaying decisions. Other agents have not noticed a major change in the first week and some have reported a stronger resolve to act.

The number of exchanges in prime London markets reached its highest level in five years last month as more deals began coming to fruition. It is also true that most exchanges still relate to deals that pre-date the first lockdown.

Knight Frank predicts the second lockdown will mean a smaller dent in the UK housing market than the first. As with other markets, two factors will define the path of the housing market in months to come: the emergence of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the avoidance of a no-deal Brexit.

It’s business as usual at Wilsons but we do of course continue to carefully abide by the Covid restrictions. Activity remains strong as both sellers and buyers strive to complete their business before the end of the Stamp Duty ‘holiday’ on the 31st of March, although it is hoped this deadline may be extended.

By Chris Willey

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