House sales edged down only slightly in March compared with February according to HM revenue & Customs, despite the lockdown in the final week of the month.
Across the UK, 99,440 residential property sales took place in March - that was 0.2 per cent down on February but 0.3 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier.
Agents are taking an optimistic assessment of the figures, indicating how strong the market may well be when the lockdown finally ends.
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and the former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says the data confirms experience on the ground - a release of post-Brexit pent-up demand in the early part of the quarter, then very little activity.
“They show too a wave of demand likely to be released soon as buyers and sellers are telling us they are putting their plans on hold, provided damage to their own prospects and the wider economy is relatively short-lived, and financial support from the government can be maintained” explains Leaf.
And Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, adds: “April and May’s data is likely to show a short-term, downward trend, with many buyers placing their activity on hold throughout April due to not being able to view properties in person and challenges around the completion process.
“That’s not the case for everyone, however. We have continued to see transactions, which have abided to social distancing rules, and have even seen some deals going through where the buyer hasn’t visited the property at all – showing there is still an appetite to transact. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we can expect to see a bounce in the Autumn as pent-up demand continues to build.”