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“Bored” buyers lead to 20-month high in exchanges says top agency

Knight Frank says its analysis of the whole housing market across the UK shows that transactions in the final full week of August were the highest since 2019 - and are accounted for, in part at least, by “bored” purchasers.

The agency says UK exchanges were 69 per cent higher than the five-year average in the week ending August 29. 

Outside of London, the equivalent increase was 60 per cent. In the capital, where the housing market has taken longer to gain momentum since restrictions were lifted, the rise was 94 per cent. 


The weekly total was the biggest since December 2018.

“People are bored and want to get on with their lives. This pent-up demand is now delivering hard and fast results” according to James Clarke, Knight Frank’s head of London sales, who says most deals are being struck within 10 per cent of the asking price with some properties attracting competitive bidding.

Edward Rook, head of the agency’s country department, adds: “We’ve been seeing competitive bidding and premiums paid on certain properties, and with prospective buyers wary of walking away from deals for fear of missing out, a high proportion of accepted offers are now transacting. There are also few signs of the high levels of demand we’re been experiencing since the market reopened abating.” 


Knight Frank has also released its forecast for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Based on a market analysis that includes listings data, it predicts this year will end with 15 per cent fewer property transactions the 2019. 

In relation to prices, the overall picture is broadly flat with slight upwards movement in areas with more outdoor space and greenery. “We do not expect a material change to these trends during the rest of the year, with most of the annual decline having been priced in during the second quarter of the year” the agency says.

Last week rival agency Savills forecast that prime markets across Britain would see falls in 2020.

By year-end the agency says prime central London will have dropped 2.0 per cent and outer and suburban London by 0.5 and 1.0 per cent respectively. 

What the agency calls “inner commute” and “outer commute” areas around the capital will each see price falls of 2.0 per cent while the wider south of England will drop 1.5 per cent. The Midlands and the north of England, and Scotland, will all fall 2.5 per cent.


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