Figures from Zoopla suggest there’s a Christmas present being unwrapped by agents across the country - a far busier housing market tha this time last year.
The roller-coaster that is 2020 is ending with demand up 33 per cent compared to late 2019, with house price inflation at a three year high of 3.9 per cent.
Fuelled by a search for space and more desirable locations, the portal says the pandemic and its lockdowns have released latent demand for housing with more focus than ever before on the size and quality of homes.
It says demand is committed rather than speculative, converting readily into sales agreed: 2020 has recorded nine per cent more sales agreed than 2019, although with transactions taking three to four months to complete, a proportion will spill over into 2021.
While demand is up 40 per cent - despite the two month market closure - new supply has increased by just four per cent. It’s this supply/demand imbalance that led to price rises.
The rebound in sales has been strongest in the South East and Eastern England, where they are over 20 per cent higher than in 2019.
More sales agreed at a higher price point means the monetary value of homes that actually sell is 26 per cent more in 2020 than in 2019. This equates to an additional £62 billion of sales, which will take the annual total of homes sold this year to over £300 billion.
Higher average selling prices in the East of England and the South East have increased the value of homes sold in 2020 by 37% compared to 2019.
Demand for family houses with gardens, parking and extra space to work from home has intensified. Demand for flats with private outdoor space is also high, but many don’t meet this requirement which is being reflected in prices and increased time to sell.
The portal says that with a long Christmas weekend fast approaching and many households isolating in smaller groups, it expects interest in housing to be stronger than usual ahead of the traditional Boxing Day bounce, when interest spikes and portal visits soar.