The housing boom following the first Covid lockdown has now lasted five months, the latest RICS housing report reveals, the longest run of growth since 2013.
Both demand for homes and new properties being listed remained strong during October, its monthly Residential Market Survey shows, with many agents optimistic that the good times will last until the end of the year.
Last month nearly half of all RICS respondents said they had seen an increase in buyer enquiries and over a third said their business had seen new highs of instructions.
Agents stock also nudged up from 42 to 43 properties per branch and 41% of respondents said ‘agreed sales’ had increased while 41% said transactions overall were increasing too. This is up from 9% during October last year.
London agency Chestertons says that although the traditional seasonal slowdown is starting to show itself in the capital, enquiry levels remained 40% higher than a year ago during October.
“People’s main concern was about having their move date delayed and potentially missing the stamp duty holiday deadline, rather than fear about prices dropping substantially, as was the case in the first lockdown in March,” says Chestertons MD Guy Gittins (pictured).
Jeremy Leaf (pictured), north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ’”he RICS figures are interesting but don’t give the full picture as the market quietened down a little towards the end of October/early November.
“However, it has picked up again quite noticeably in the past few days as the prospect of a vaccine has improved. This has brought more buyers to the market than has been the case for several weeks and is stiffening the resolve of some sellers not to accept low-ball offers.
“On the ground, we are seeing more buyer and seller determination to get deals done in order for both to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.”
Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS (pictured) says: “The housing market remains very busy and despite the second national lockdown, the sense is that this will persist over the coming months and into the new year,” says
“But there is understandably more caution about activity looking beyond the first quarter of 2021.
“Aside from the withdrawal of governments incentives, the market may also find the more challenging employment picture a significant obstacle even with interest rates set to remain close to zero for some time to come.”