Homeowners hold off marketing properties in face of Covid upsurge

The pandemic has cut the supply of homes in the UK market in 2021 as a surge in coronavirus cases discouraged potential sellers despite the incentive of a holiday with stamp duty.

The new stock of homes that hit the market in the first two weeks of 2021 is down 12 percent from the same period in January 2020, according to property website Zoopla, which attributed the decline in part to reluctance to see potential sellers in the current pandemic increase. Daily Covid-19 cases were over 60,000 in early January, although the number has dropped sharply in the last daily numbers.

“Recording Covid cases and calls to maintain social distancing appear to have led some potential home sellers not to put their properties up for sale right now,” Zoopla said, adding that the strength of last year’s market may have “soaked up” delivery of houses for sale.

Richard Donnell, research director at Zoopla, said reviews continued but sellers were more nervous about the viewings while real estate agents tightened procedures to follow up customers and their contacts in the event of a positive test.

Agents polled in the Royal Institution of Surveyors’ latest market report released in mid-January said they expected the lockdown to slow activity in the market as fewer buyers travel and sellers wait.

The decline is backed by numbers from TwentyCi, a consulting firm, which found the number of new instructions in the first week of the year was 15.5 percent lower than the same period in 2020 and nearly 30 percent lower than 2019. The number agreed sales – an indicator of demand – increased by 15.7 percent compared to 2020. This reflects the recent spike in activity shoppers were looking to complete before March 31st when a nine month stamp duty vacation saving them up to £ 15,000 comes to an end.

The lack of new instructions kept prices high, Zoopla noted. In three northern regions of England – the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber – the growth rate was at a 10-year high. Liverpool prices rose 6.3 percent – the fastest rate in 15 years.

In London, however, the situation was reversed. It was the only region where the number of new registrations increased by 11.6 percent compared to the first two weeks of 2020. This consisted mainly of apartments, which was explained by the trend towards trading in larger houses and department stores. Sell ​​investors before the tax changes, Donnell said. Among the regions, the price increases were lowest in London and the South East.

Finding more space has been a standout feature of the 2020 real estate market and remains a factor for many homeowners, Donnell said, referring to a recent Zoopla survey of 4,000 homeowners. “Half said Covid had created a desire to move and change their living conditions.”

The rush to finalize to take advantage of stamp duty is likely to result in many of those who agree sales now failing to meet the deadline: “In a normal year, around 55 percent of the January sales would be completed by the end of the first quarter. The proportion is likely to be lower this year, ”said Zoopla, estimating that up to 70,000 sales agreed in 2020 ran the risk of missing the deadline.

The new nationwide lockdown rules in England

  • The main caveat is solid message that you are staying home

  • People are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work if they cannot do so from home to buy essential groceries, medicines, and other necessities, and to exercise with their household or another person – once a day and before place

  • The most clinically vulnerable people were asked to shield themselves

  • All universities as well as elementary and secondary schools are closed until a mid-term review in mid-February. Children at risk and children of critical workers can continue to participate as long as kindergarten is available

  • Students must study from home at least until mid-February

  • Hospitality and non-essential retail stores are closed. Take-away services are available, but not for the sale of alcohol

  • Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos are closed. Playgrounds are open

  • Places of worship are open, but you can only participate with your household

  • Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools and riding arenas, are closed. Top sport, including the English Premier League, continues

  • Foreign travel is only permitted for “essential” business

Please visit the government’s official website for full details.