House sales are being agreed faster than in 2019. We look at what’s going on in the property market…

Despite the UK being officially in a recession, the property market has moved rapidly of late with transactions being agreed faster than last year. Homes on Zoopla sold in just 27 days on average, two weeks faster than the same period last year. House sales in Scotland are taking just 15 days and the average asking price for a home on Zoopla is up eight per cent compared to 2019.

Overall, properties are selling faster than before we were hit by the pandemic, with big homes in the countryside shifting quickly. Four- and five-bedroom houses are selling 33 per cent faster than last year and three-bedroom properties are selling the most rapidly. Sales of houses listed on Zoopla’s platform are 76 per cent higher than the five-year average.

More space at home

Buyers are keen to have more space for working from home as well as a garden area. Zoopla says that the market being so healthy is partly due to the nation having a chance to reassess their housing needs during lockdown.

Pent-up demand since lockdown is another reason why sales are being agreed quickly. The Stamp Duty holiday announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 8 July has also given buyers a good incentive to move sooner than they may have planned. Richard Donnell, Research & Insight Director from Zoopla, said that housing market conditions remain ‘unseasonably strong’.

Greater buyer demand

Demand from buyers is 34 per cent higher than a year ago and property prices look set to hold up for the rest of the year according to Zoopla. The property website even predicts that prices could see a growth of between two to three per cent by the end of 2020.

However, while the market appears to be moving rapidly, it’s important to make the distinction between houses being snapped up and the time it takes for purchases to go through. ‘We’re seeing clients who have listed their properties for sale, accepting offers from buyers extremely quickly at present, in some cases within a matter of days,’ says MBA’s Sales Manager Phil Leivesley. ‘However, the process of purchasing is taking longer to conclude than we have previously seen. We’re finding that the legal process is taking longer. This is understandably a frustration for buyers and sellers who have tied up the agreement to buy very quickly and who are expecting the rest of the process to follow suit.’

Regional growth

Despite the frustration of the completion process taking longer, the speed at which offers are coming in is clearly an encouraging sign.

In the last year, prices have risen by 4.4 per cent in Nottingham, 4 per cent in Manchester and 3 per cent in Leeds, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Prices in London have increased by 2.1 per cent.

However, Richard Donnell from Zoopla added that the unwinding of the furlough scheme will test the strength of economic recovery.

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