The UK housing market was temporarily put on hold following the emergence of COVID-19, with the scale of the crisis not yet apparent. However, as lockdown measures began to be eased, the market was reopened on Wednesday 13th May – and demand has been through the roof.
The latest research from Knight Frank shows that demand for property “surged” in the first full week following the reopening. Taking London as an example, the number of new buyers registered in the capital was 28% higher than the five-year average in the week ending 23rd May 2020.
Described as “the busiest Spring market in six years” by Christopher Burton of Knight Frank, it appears that London’s success was replicated across the country.
As reported in the Telegraph, both Zoopla and Rightmove saw hugely increased levels of activity following the reopening of the market.
Rightmove reports that more than five million prospective homebuyers visited the site in the 24 hours following the lifting of restrictions. Zoopla figures were similarly impressive, with figures showing an 80% increase in levels of demand over the same period.
An interesting detail is that properties suitable for home working were understandably attracting a heightened level of attention from those searching. This means it is likely that city centre properties with good local infrastructure, big windows and open-plan living areas will be viewed even more favourably than they were before – when you’re spending more time at home, comfort becomes a top concern.
Miles Shipside, a director of Rightmove, said: “High demand could lead to a boost in values for properties that offer inspiring home-working options. But on the other hand, the extra value for a property being close to a popular commuter route may diminish if working from home becomes the new norm.
"We have seen some early signs of people enquiring more about out-of-city areas so it will be interesting to see if this leads to a change in where people choose to buy now the market has been unlocked.”
The re-emergent strength of the housing market is yet more confirmation – were it needed – that the foundations underpinning UK property are extremely reliable. The rapid rebound of demand demonstrates the confidence coursing through the market, and should reassure both homebuyers and investors that this is a god time to purchase their next property.