Pre-Coronavirus Transactions Continued Post-Brexit Recovery

UK property transactions increased in February as the pre-Corona virus property market continued to recover from long-term Brexit uncertainty.

HM Revenue and Customs’ UK Property Transactions Statistics for February highlight the continued UK recovery from a market flattened by worries surrounding Brexit.

The 103, 870 residential transactions represented a 4.5 per cent increase on January’s transactions and a 6 per cent improvement on February 2019, on a professional seasonally adjusted estimate.

Non-residential property also enjoyed significant improvements in February. The 11,150 transactions equated to and increase of 8.4 per cent when compared with February 2019 and 14.1 per cent increase on January’s already improved figures.

However, a nation in lockdown will cause the market to falter in March and the coming months as viewings and home moves become unrealistic when the UK is asked to socially distance themselves from others.

However, experts have used the statistics to highlight the clear demand and appetite to move and the immediate bounce back the UK property market can expect as soon as the spread of the virus is under control.

Neil Knight, Business Development Director for Spicerhaart Part-Exchange & Assisted Move, said:

“There is an other-worldly quality to the February transactions figures. It’s like a rear-view mirror to how life was before covid-19 struck.

“The 4.5% monthly increase, putting residential transactions up 6% on the same time last year – following on from similarly encouraging figures for January – shows that demand can recover quickly once uncertainty is removed.

“It’s too early to say exactly what impact the coronavirus lockdown will have. We now have our teams working remotely to ensure there is minimal impact on clients.  With people already cancelling planned moves, there can be little doubt, though, that these figures will look starkly different in the months to come.

“The demand is still there and, with the powerful measures being taken to protect jobs and incomes, can be expected to recover strongly once the coronavirus emergency passes, just as it has rebounded since December’s general election. The industry needs to do what it can to weather the storm, and ensure that it is in as strong a position as possible to respond to that demand when the time comes.”

Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments:

“Today’s transaction figures demonstrate the nascent ‘Boris Bounce’ which boosted the property market in January and February. In today’s world, this seems like a distant reality and we expect the months that follow to tell a very different story.

“Viewings have plummeted as potential buyers back away from visiting properties where the risk of infection is unknown while sellers baulk at the possibility of letting strangers into their homes. Further, given the economic uncertainty, many potential buyers are deciding that the significant outlay in money and time required to buy a house just isn’t worth it.

“But for all the real problems and dangers Covid-19 presents to people and the economy, we do want to take time to praise the existing technologies which are relieving a degree of market pressure. For example, through virtual viewings which are protecting all parties in the homebuying process. There is no doubt that the months ahead will be challenging for businesses and consumers, but ultimately, it is technology that can provide the flexibility and resilience to operate in a rapidly changing world.”

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