Demand for houses across the UK has soared post-lockdown according to a report from property experts Zoopla.
The report revealed that properties are selling faster than before the pandemic as buyers return to the market on the hunt for three and four bedroom houses with space to work from home in particular.
Large homes in the countryside are proving most popular whilst urban flats typically aimed at first-time buyers are proving the hardest to shift for sellers. Since lockdown restrictions were eased it is on average only taking 27 days for a house to find a buyer once it’s put up for sale, compared to 39 days from the same period in 2019.
The increase in demand is thought to be driven in part by the temporary cut in stamp duty on properties up to £500,000 announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July as well as pent-up demand that’s grown over lockdown as people have spent more time at home, realising their property desires.
Whilst the demand for property may be high, prospective buyers are finding there is little to choose from with houses for sale at estate agents down 3% from last year.
The positive state of the UK property market is a sharp contrast to the country’s overall economic situation and Zoopla admitted that as children return to schools and the furlough scheme comes to an end, it could find itself ‘challenged’.
Thanks to the pandemic most property forecasters predicted falls in the UK property market for 2020 with Savills revealing in June that they expected a 7.5% decline in prices this year.
Halifax however reported earlier this month that house prices in Britain rose to a new high in July, after a ‘mini boom’ in the market saw the average property prices rise by up to 1.6%. Zoopla now predicts that house prices will end the year 2-3% higher than at the start of 2020.
The predicted rise comes as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Wednesday issued new guidance to mortgage lenders, explaining that they will be expected to extend forbearance to borrowers who come to the end of their payment holidays but are still in a difficult financial situation.
Since the pandemic began around 2 million people have taken out a mortgage holiday, which equals out to around one in six of all mortgages in the UK.