House prices “are set to hold firm for the remainder of the year,” predicts Zoopla, despite the onset of a recession and rising unemployment. The portal is standing by its forecast that prices will end 2020 2% or 3% higher than they started it.
The property market has been powering ahead in the face of the wider turmoil (the OECD recently revealed that the UK has endured the sharpest fall in GDP of any G7 nation). “The post lockdown market rebound shows little signs of slowing,” says Zoopla, as it reports that the “cumulative increase in buyer demand” since the start of 2020 is 34% higher than over the same period in 2019, and 25% above last month’s reading.
Demand continues to outstrip supply, with for-sale listings remaining below last year’s level – but more vendors are now coming to market, encouraged by all the sales activity. “The gap is closing steadily,” says Zoopla.
The buyer-heavy market means that deals are going through faster. The average “time to sell” a home has fallen by almost two weeks (31%) since lockdown restrictions were lifted, compared with the same period 12 months prior. Properties went from first listing to being marked as sold in an average of 27 days over the last three months, says Zoopla, down from 39 days in the same 90-day period in 2019.
Certain types of properties are particularly sough-after, following a “once in a lifetime re-evaluation of housing requirements on the back of the lockdown.” The nation is “collectively reassessing what it wants and needs from a home,” says Zoopla. “Quarantine has galvanised many homeowners and renters into reconsidering their housing requirements, resulting in demand for more space and changing work and commuting patterns.”
Perhaps driven by this trend, houses are now selling faster than flats.