It is unlikely that most estate agents will ever read this again during their careers, but HMRC has reported that house sales bombed by 53.4% last month compared to a year ago.
House transactions dropped from 100,000 in April 2019 to 46,440 last month which HMRC says is entirely attributable to the Coronavirus house moving ban introduced on 26th March but lifted on 13th May.
Sadly for estate agents, April is one of the busiest months during the annual home moving calendar and over the past ten years four of them have seen more than 100,000 homes sold.
“The sheer scale of the collapse is staggering but what has to be remembered is that demand for residential property sales cannot be compared with demand for other items in consumers’ regular basket of goods,” says Andrew Southern, Chairman of property developer Southern Grove.
Rise from the deep
“Residential transactions are usually motivated by necessity so, subject to the economic realities that prevail as the country starts to emerge from this crisis, many of these missing sales should rise from the deep. This will hopefully shore up confidence in the house-building sector as activity rebounds unusually strongly later this year.”
Joseph Daniels, founder of eco-developer Etopia, says: “The early signs from our own development is that sales underway before the lockdown were simply paused and, thankfully, sales are proceeding again all over the country.
“While it might take a bit more time for sales to pick up as buyers and sellers alike become comfortable with viewing homes under socially distanced conditions, at least the pent up demand from those who were already in the middle of a purchase prior to lockdown can now be released.”