Property sales rise in May as momentum steadily builds
Property sales jumped 16 per cent last month in the latest sign that the housing market is surging back to life after nine weeks of lockdown
Latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs show an improvement in property sales as 48,450 homes changed hands in May — the month that the Government ended the lockdown freeze for estate agents.
Volumes were still almost 50 per cent down on the previous year but agents say momentum has been steadily building.
Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons estate agents, said: “Property viewings have tripled, while website enquiries, newly registered applicants and offers made on properties have all more than doubled in the 39 days since the market reopened, compared to the 51 days of lockdown prior to May 13.”
“This clearly shows confidence in housing has not been shaken by the impact of coronavirus. If property sales continue at this rate, supported by low mortgage rates, we could see prices recover a lot quicker than many predicted.”
“Although there are no official figures for London our branches have seen a frankly astonishing upsurge in people looking to buy since the market reopened in mid-May.”
Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said: “The level of transactions still looks decidedly muted but a 16 per cent monthly increase is actually relatively good.
“The HMRC figures to watch will come much later, in the autumn, when they will reflect the post-lockdown activity of May and June. But housebuilders are likely to have read the signals by then and begun investing in their pipeline with a degree of confidence again. The fundamentals of this market haven’t changed.”
Tom Bill, Head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank, said: “The pipeline of deals underway when the lockdown began largely held together and accounted for the majority of transactions in April. After the market reopened in May, deal activity picked up and today’s figures demonstrate how transactions have now bottomed out.
“Since the market reopened, there has been a dramatic but potentially short-lived surge in demand that will be reflected in even higher transaction numbers in coming months.”