The latest house price index from Nationwide has this week shown a -1.7% month on month drop in house price growth between April and March, a statistic that has caused many property market commentators to don their hard hats and head for the nearest bomb shelter.
However, it’s important to remember that this data analyses the exact period the UK property market entered a deep freeze during lockdown. In addition to this, monthly house price metrics can often be erratic with the annual picture from Nationwide still showing a healthy 1.8% uplift compared to this time last year.
While there’s no doubt we’ve seen the market slowdown as a result of the Coronavirus, many of those working on the ground have seen an almost immediate uplift in activity following the Government’s decision allowing the industry to return to work. This has been compounded by data from Rightmove who claim to have seen their ‘busiest day ever’ at the back end of May as a result of pent up buyer and seller demand.
The latest figures from GetAgent’s real-time property market dashboard show a number of positive trends where returning market health is concerned with their overall market health index increasing to 4.3%, up from 3.4% in April.
Just 22% of home sellers are now extremely concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their sale; down from 33% in April. In addition, just 16% of buyers state they would now refrain from offering on a property in current market conditions, down from 43% in April.
The latest results also show industry confidence has returned, with 15% of agents concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the industry as a whole, again dropping significantly from 28% in April. A notable 96% expect to be able to progress on their sales now the market is back in business to an extent, up from 75% in April.
In the two weeks since the market reopened, listings reaching the market have increased steadily week on week, although they are yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.
However, buyer interest remains strong, exceeding pre-pandemic levels for the seventh week in a row. The number of buyer and seller search terms on Google has also seen upward movement with home seller leads also on the up.
So which areas are seeing the quickest turn around in activity across the UK market?
GetAgent.co.uk looked at the property stock levels available in each area of the UK market in the week prior to industry restrictions being lifted on the 13th May. GetAgent then looked at the available stock in the week following the market returning to business and where had seen the largest influx of sellers listing their homes for sale.
The largest increase was in Birmingham, where available property stock increased by 152 properties in a single week; an increase of 143%. Exeter wasn’t far behind with 151 new homes hitting the market, followed by Wiltshire with 144.
The City of Westminster saw the biggest return to form in London with an uplift of 134 homes reaching the market, with Leeds seeing 132 new homes up for sale.
Hounslow, Cornwall, Barnet, Bristol, Maidstone and Plymouth also saw some of the biggest market bounce backs with over 100 new homes listed for sale in a single week.
Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented:
“There remains a long road ahead, however, with industry lockdown restrictions now lifted there is no doubt that things are looking up with buyer demand, sentiment and available stock all now building across the UK market.
In the week’s following the implementation of the lockdown, available property stock all but vanished overnight and the market ground to a halt. However, early signs suggest that the market has rejuvenated almost as quickly as it declined, with the vast majority of the UK seeing an uplift in activity.
While we’ve highlighted the areas to see the largest influx of properties for sale in terms of quantity, it’s important to note that every area is really its own unique market in itself.
So while some smaller or more rural pockets may have only seen an increase of five to 15 homes reaching the market this is still quite notable. In fact, these areas have seen some of the largest uplifts in market activity when considering the percentage increases in new stock when compared to the week before restrictions were lifted.”