Zoopla has released numbers showing that there's been a drop in market activity, though buyer demand is staying steady. The property portal stated that agreed upon sales and new listings has dropped a jaw-dropping 70% since the begin of shelter-in-place orders were put in place.
Agent comparison site, GetAgent conducted its own analysis, finding that Google search volume of buyer keywords was down 54% and seller keywords was down 62% from mid-February to the end of March. GetAgent included search terms like 'Rightmove', 'Zoopla', 'house for sale', 'property for sale', and 'estate agents' when conducting this research.
Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, Richard Donnell says the impact from this pandemic on the property market might seem overwhelming now, but that most indicators are stabilizing:
“So much so that market activity is currently in line with that recorded over Christmas 2018, when the market backdrop was weak and consumers were also grappling with Brexit uncertainty.
“While the recent drop in activity has been sharp, the market has not ground to standstill.
“There is still activity going on, just at much lower rates than you would expect in a busy spring market.
“Consumers continue to engage with what is on the market and contact estate agents, planning ahead for when restrictions are eventually lifted.”
Knight Frank conducted its own analysis of sales data, showing the rapid impact that COVID-19 has had on the UK property sector. Whereas in the US, Zillow reported a 19% drop in listings, the UK market is seeing a boost in sales, 19% more than the five-year average, in the week ending on March 14.
Then it dropped 53%, then by the beginning of April, sales were down two-thirds of the five-year average. A chilling wake-up call.
Tom Bill of Knight Frank said that government understands how important house sales are to the greater economy and that companies will be scrambling to find anything that can boost numbers when things begin to settle down.
Even now, the property industry is calling for a cut in stamp duty and extended SDLT holiday to make ends meet.
News surrounding the market based off of the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to change as tension rise, quarantining continues, and governments look for ways to help everyone impacted by this virus. This isn't the only recession in a market we have seen, but that doesn't make the uncertainty any less worrisome.