‘Unseasonably strong’ house prices set to hold firm despite recession – report


House prices are set to hold firm for the rest of the year as they remain “unseasonably strong” in the face of the recession, according to new research.

Zoopla’s latest monthly House Price Index has revealed that annual house price growth has sustained at 2.5% as demand continues to overtake supply despite the coronavirus pandemic.

It revealed that house sales have also sped up dramatically since the outbreak struck, with the time for a sale averaging 27 days in the period since lockdown, compared to 39 days over the same period last year.

The report highlighted particularly strong price growth in Manchester and Nottingham, where annual price growth is more than 4%.

The post-lockdown housing market rebound is showing “little sign of slowing”, with buyer demand since the start of 2020 up 34% against the same period last year, Zoopla said.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director, Zoopla, said: “Housing market conditions remain unseasonably strong despite the UK moving into recession.

“While the economy has contracted sharply and unemployment is rising, consumer spending has rebounded and purchasing manager indices are pointing to a wider rebound in the economy.

“This is positive but the unwinding of the furlough scheme and other Government support is the next challenge that will test the strength of economic recovery.”

He said he expects house prices to end 2020 between 2% and 3% higher than at the start of January.

The report highlighted strong demand for three-bedroom properties, which have been the quickest to be snapped up, with an average selling time of 24 days.

The time it takes to sell four and five bedroom houses has also decreased on the back of increased desire for space following the lockdown.

Iain McKenzie, chief executive officer of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The surge of activity in the market is exceptional.

“Since the housing market reopened, our members have been busier than ever with some saying they have never been as busy as they are now.”