Estimated £27bn-worth of property sales lost in 2020 due to Covid-19

The UK housing market will have “lost” an estimated 124,000 sales collectively worth £27 billion this year due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to a property website.

Despite the housing market being re-opened for business after previously being put on pause, Zoopla said sales during the first half of this year were down by around a fifth compared with the same period in 2019.

Looking at the whole period from January 1 and June 30, sales were running 20% lower than they were during the same period in 2019.

Sales have now picked up, as pent-up demand is released into the market and buyers look to take advantage of a recent stamp duty cut announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Cities including Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham are seeing a strong growth in demand, according to Zoopla.

But the website still predicts that, even though transactions are now playing catch-up, there will be 124,000 sales lost over the course of the year compared with what it had expected.

While sales are expected to be down this year, Zoopla believes house prices will hold up in the coming months.

It said that a widening gap between housing supply and demand should help to support house prices in the second half of 2020, and it believes house price falls generally are “unlikely” before the end of the year.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director, Zoopla, said: “The staggered reopening of housing markets across countries and the added impetus from the stamp duty holiday mean we expect buyer demand and new sales volumes to hold at current levels over the next two months.

“The net result will be continued support for house price growth at current levels over the second half of the year.”

He continued: “We expect rising unemployment to weigh on market activity over the final quarter of 2020 and into the first half of 2021.

“The impact on pricing looks set to be pushed into 2021 as a result of sizeable Government support for the economy.”

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