The residential property industry is one of the nation’s few economic bright spots as it emerges from the Covid lockdown, the Bank of England has said.
Its agents have reported buoyant activity in the property sales market, particularly in England, helped by the temporary cut in stamp duty and the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers.
“Contacts were cautious about the outlook, however, and some noted that activity in parts of the market had been constrained by a lower availability of high loan to value mortgages,” its most recent economic report says.
BoE agents also reported strong demand in the lettings market in all parts of the UK except central London, where supply continued to outweigh demand.
“Rental arrears have increased only slightly, but some contacts were concerned they could rise further when the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends,” the report says.
The bank also says that while house building activity had recently picked up, contacts were uncertain about how long that upturn would be sustained, and were cautious about the outlook.
Buried in the report are figures on the number of people on furlough, which the BoE says was 32% of employees during April, May and June, falling to 18% in July and 12% in August.
The figures do not say whether this includes those returning to work or being made redundant.