Thursday 21 May 2020 10:47 am

Housing transactions collapse in April as lockdown hits UK property market

Housing transactions plunged in April as the UK property market was brought to a standstill by the coronavirus crisis.

The latest data from HM Revenue and Customs showed that the number of residential property transactions last month was down 53.2 per cent compared to April 2019.

Housing transactions were also 46.1 per cent lower than the previous month after the lockdown restrictions implemented on 23 March forced estate agents to close and prevented in-person viewings.

In total, 46,440 residential housing transactions took place in April and 5,930 non-residential deals occurred. 

Non-residential transactions also fell 45.2 per cent lower year on year, and 22 per cent on a monthly basis. 

This month the government relaxed lockdown rules affecting the property market, sparking hopes that transaction levels will pick up as “pent-up demand” is released.

“Transactions have, of course, stalled as a direct consequence of Covid-19,” said Jamie Johnson, chief executive of property investment firm FJP Investors. 

“Buyers are not retreating from the market – they are waiting to act once Covid-19 has been resolved. We know there is pent-up demand for real estate. 

“That’s why I’m confident the market will bounce back over the coming months as social distancing measures are relaxed.” 

“It isn’t news to anyone that the market has ground to a halt but that still doesn’t make these figures easy reading,” Andrew Southern, chairman of developer Southern Grove, added.

“The sheer scale of the collapse is staggering but what has to be remembered is that demand for residential property sales cannot be compared with demand for other items in consumers’ regular basket of goods. 

“Residential transactions are usually motivated by necessity so, subject to the economic realities that prevail as the country starts to emerge from this crisis, many of these missing sales should rise from the deep.”