Research from Zoopla suggests that demand from buyers across England surged 88 per cent shortly after the housing market reopened - but that spike will drop back as transactions normalise, the portal claims.
In its regular analysis of large cities, the portal says the scale of the bounce back in demand after the market reopened varies - for example despite a large rise in demand, London’s recovery is lagging behind.
Zoopla’s data shows that demand has rebounded faster in cities along the south coast and in northern England. Portsmouth and Southampton are registering demand some 40 per cent higher than in February this year with strong growth also recorded in Newcastle and Leeds.
Meanwhile a consumer survey conducted by the website has found that some 60 per cent of buyers in the UK are planning to continue with their search for their next home.
Of those, 22 per cent said that they have not been impacted by COVID-19 and expect to continue unaffected. And 37 per cent said that while they had been impacted to some extent, they were looking to continue with their purchase as soon as possible.
By contrast 41 per cent said they have put their plans on hold, citing market uncertainty, loss of income, and diminished confidence in future finances as deterrents.
The portal says there are two key factors to watch for over the second half of the year.
The first is how many of Zoopla’s calculated 373,000 stalled sales make it to completion. And the second is how much the demand for homes holds up and how much of this pent-up demand converts into new sales.
“The COVID crisis and 50 day lockdown have created an unexpected one-off boost to housing demand. Millions of UK households have spent a considerable amount of time in their homes over the lockdown period and missed out on hours of commuting” says Richard Donnell, director of research and insight at the portal.
“Many households are likely to have re-evaluated what they want from their home. This could well explain the scale of the demand returning to the market. We need to see more supply come to the market to satisfy this demand.
“The economic impacts of COVID will grow in the coming months and uncertainty is building. The majority of would-be movers plan to continue their search, encouraged by low mortgage rates and continued government support for the economy.
“However, we expect the latest rebound in demand to moderate in the coming weeks as buyers and sellers start to exert greater caution. Further support from the government can’t be discounted and would help limit the scale of the downside risks.”