LatestProperty News

The Impact of COVID-19 on the UK Property Market

Three-quarters of Brits who were planning to move home before the Coronavirus pandemic arrived on our shores still intend to move as soon as possible after the lockdown is eased, a new survey has revealed.

After a positive start to the year, the Coronavirus crisis has brought the housing market to a grinding halt. However, a new survey suggests the UK property market may be on track to make a speedy recovery following the lockdown as home movers report being determined to press ahead with their plans to move at the earliest opportunity once the social distancing rules are relaxed. This buyer confidence is very promising news for the floundering UK property market.

The results of the survey of aspiring home movers conducted by reallymoving, the comparison site for home movers, shows that the majority (75 per cent) of UK home movers are resolute about completing their moves just as soon as COVID-19 restrictions on movement have ended. A further 18 per cent of the survey respondents said they were still hoping to move later in the year.

Of those currently in the middle of a transaction, 62 per cent said they were using this time to get as far ahead in the process as possible, so they are ready to hit the ground running when the current restrictions are lifted.

A third of the survey respondents (29 per cent) said they have decided to put their transactions on pause, while six per cent said they are no longer willing or able to proceed, with three per cent saying they had already seen their chain collapse.

The key concerns of buyers and sellers no longer proceeding with their home moves are recorded in graph 1 below. The main reason given for withdrawing was nervousness over house price falls (26 per cent). One respondent commented: “We’re in our mid-20s and probably wouldn’t have stayed in the property long enough to get over the negative equity of the originally agreed price.” Other worries included: someone in the chain pulling out (17 per cent), concern over job security/lost job (16 per cent), lost confidence in the economy (16 per cent) and seven per cent had scrapped their plans to move because they could no longer get a mortgage.

Graph 1: Reasons why people are no longer proceeding with home moves

The vast majority (92 per cent) of sellers who are currently marketing their homes but haven’t yet found a buyer said they are planning to leave their property on the market, taking advantage of the fact that buyers may have more time on their hands during the lockdown to search for properties online.

reallymoving CEO Rob Houghton, said: “Home movers at all stages of the process currently remain determined to press ahead at the earliest opportunity, suggesting we could see a quick recovery in housing market activity when the current restrictions on movement end.” 

Before the Coronavirus crisis hit, we were experiencing the strongest spring market for several years and this research suggests that demand has not yet melted away. But considering the main concern for movers is falling house prices, picking up the pieces of an existing move may require a renegotiation of the price along the chain and for some parties, particularly those who have had their incomes reduced, that move could become unviable.”

Until market activity resumes it will be difficult to predict the full impact on volumes and prices, but it’s certainly encouraging to hear the determination of buyers and sellers to stick with their plans and progress their move as soon as possible after lockdown. For now, the most important thing we can do is follow the Government’s advice to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives!

Yes! I would like to receive regular property news & updates.
Join once. Access forever.
Hi there. Are you obsessed with property? So are we. We should stick together. Join Propertista today, it’s completely free.
By clicking this button, you agree to Propertista's Privacy and Terms Policy
Already a member? Login here
Alex Wright, Editor