Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Real EstateUK

UK home sales in April halves compared with March

UK home

An estimated 46,440 residential property transactions took place last month, down by 46.1 per cent compared with 86,200 sales in March

The number of homes sold across the UK in April nearly halved compared with March, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures show.

An estimated 46,440 residential property transactions took place last month, down by 46.1 per cent compared with 86,200 sales in March. It was also a 53.4 per cent decrease compared with April 2019.

The latest monthly total is the lowest on comparable records going back 15 years to April 2005.

HMRC’s figures show completed sales with a value of £40,000 and above, but cautioned that its latest releases are subject to some uncertainty, and therefore its figures are provisional.

Its report said: Impacts from Covid-19 are evident within the latest HMRC UK transactions data.

The UK housing market was on hold during April as part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

But last week the transactions in England were kick-started once more, with people now able to visit estate agents and undertake physical property viewings, subject to Government guidance.

Jeremy Leaf, a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said: This data comes at a particularly interesting time, just after the Covid-19 bombshell hit, so one of the first to reliably assess the damage. This has been significant with probably worse to come, while new normal values are established.

On a more positive note, activity has picked up considerably since we returned to work, at least in part, although it will take several months for interest to build to offers and completions and be reflected in these or similar reports, Leaf said.

Property website Rightmove said that on Tuesday this week that it recorded its busiest day since March 5, with nearly 5.3 million visits. This was up by 4 per cent on the same day in May 2019.

Rightmove’s housing market expert Miles Shipside said: One week on from the surprise opening of the housing market and agents are still showing caution and quite rightly putting safety first, but many had already started to prepare during lockdown and so have been able to start reopening their branches and conducting viewings.

The activity jump proves the determination of home movers to continue with their plans over the next few months, Shipside said. The pause button put many of the usual metrics we report on out of kilter and so a week’s worth of data should only be taken as an early indication of activity, but it’s certainly encouraging.

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