Zoopla has released data that shows sales activity falling off a cliff in recent weeks, although there has been no mass withdrawal of homes from the market as agents and consumers adopt a wait and see approach during the Coronavirus crisis.
The number of new sales agreed dropped by 70% following the lock-down on 24th March and the number of people enquiring about properties fell by 60% over the past four weeks as the Coronavirus threat loomed, intensified and then arrived.
Agents seeking some encouragement should note that homes continue to be sold as the existing sales pipeline continues, and that properties were being listed right up until the lockdown. This would suggest that vendors were happy to get their homes on the market despite the likelihood of a prolonged activity freeze.
One result of this tactic is that stock levels remains just 1% lower at the moment than a month ago.
Zoopla says that although a huge number of sales fell through on 24th March, the fall-through rate has returned to normal among homes that are going through to exchange, namely approximately a third of transactions.
But unless the pandemic eases and travel restrictions are at least partially lifted, the Zoopla figures suggest the market will eventually run out of road as the number of new homes coming on to the throttles off.
Richard Donnell, Research & Insight Director at Zoopla, says: “Demand for housing started to fall two weeks before the Government announced the lock-down.
“The closure of estate agency branches and general uncertainty has resulted in far fewer sales agreed over the past fortnight, with less new supply coming to the market.
Read more about the housing market and coronavirus.