Home Sales Gain Momentum, Transaction Speeds up 33%

home sales increase

It was predicted at the height of COVID-19 that when lockdown restrictions were eventually eased, a pent-up wave of demand would be unleashed on the UK housing market. Predictions that appeared to be accurate, as new research from Zoopla suggests the speed of property sales is currently 33% faster than it was a year ago.

Examining the three months leading up to mid-August, Zoopla found that the average time taken for a three-bedroom home to sell was 24 days. In August last year, the same property would have taken an average of 36 days to sell. It is not just three-bedroom homes that are selling faster; Zoopla’s report indicated that all property types across the board are selling at an accelerated pace.

Shifting priorities

Another prediction from the COVID-19 crisis that has proved accurate is the way in which homebuyers across the UK are showing a marked shift in priorities and preferences. Though all property types are selling faster, the slowest properties to sell in most regions are now one-bedroom flats.

This has been credited to the fact that first-time buyers and movers alike have been forced to reconsider their priorities and long-term intentions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fact that the housing market in its entirety was put on hold for several weeks has inevitably impacted overall property sales for the year. Nevertheless, Zoopla has reported an encouraging boom in general housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions, resulting in overall sales more than 75% higher than would be expected for this time of year.

“Buyer appetite has been widely attributed to pent-up demand resulting from lockdown, but it also reflects the impact on the nation as it collectively reassesses what it wants and needs from a home,” reported 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.”

Outdoor interest

Meanwhile, the experts at Rightmove are advising property sellers and landlords to place heavier emphasis on their gardens and outdoor spaces when presenting their properties to potential buyers or tenants. Whereas the kitchen has typically been the deal-breaker for most buyers, more people than ever before are prioritising the quality and availability of outdoor living spaces.

The sudden spike in housing market activity is also having a direct impact on average property prices across the country. A recent report from Halifax suggested that in July, average home prices reached a new record high—a climb of 1.7% from the month before.

Specifically, the average property price (according to the Halifax House Price Index) stood at £241,604 for July, up from the £237,834 average recorded in June. This also indicated a huge 3.8% increase compared to the same period in 2019.