We have seen a number of portals report a return of traffic to their sites over the last couple of weeks and several commentators have expressed optimism about the ability of the global property market to bounce back from the global pandemic. Figures that have been less evident are sales volumes for March and April when economies around the world went into lockdown.
Data around sales volumes are difficult to find and not necessarily standardised or punctually released and they’re also subject to lag from incoming transactions. Even though the sources we found are very disparate and the figures ought to be taken with a pinch of salt, the picture painted is one where home buyers and estate agents around the world have been finding a way to get transactions over the line despite lockdowns.
Some Slightly Surprising Figures
UK: Lowest April figures for more than 10 years.
Interesting because: The data, as expected, shows the lowest sales volumes for April for the last ten years. Despite the government locking down the real estate market from the 26th of March, estimated transaction volumes are only down 56% YoY. Either paperwork was delayed on half of all sales or real estate professionals were finding a way to get sales over the line despite restrictions.
Japan: Biggest decline in April Tokyo transactions since 1990
Interesting because: Japan has so far been one of the least affected developed nations in the world in terms of Covid-19 infections. The government was quick to react and implement lockdown restrictions. New listings in Tokyo were down by 20% in April, the 8th consecutive month of falling listings.
USA: Sales of existing homes plunged 18% in April.
Interesting because: The drop here, although significant, is not as large as other countries largely because real estate was deemed an essential service in many states and people have been allowed to move home.
Australia: April sales volumes are down by an estimated 40%
Interesting because: Australia went into lockdown in the middle of March and remained locked down throughout April. It seems staggering that 60% of expected transactions still went ahead. Even allowing for data lag this seems like a very high figure.
New Zealand: Home sales decreased by 78.5% in April YoY.
Interesting because: New Zealand has been lauded worldwide for controlling the spread of the virus and all but eliminating it in the population by mid-May. We might have expected a country with a comparatively low incidence of the coronavirus to report more healthy transaction numbers.
Spain: No data for April yet.
Interesting because: Usually, data for a previous month is released in the middle of the next month. We would have expected to see data for April by now. Are we in for some surprising figures?
Some Other Figures From Around The World
South Africa: Estimates -40% for Q1.
Canada: Home sales fell a record 56% in April
Italy: Estimating between 8 and 18% drop in sales figures for 2020. 20,000 purchases already cancelled.