Even the prospect of a stamp duty holiday is not enough to persuade many buyers and sellers to enter the market according to a new survey.
The study of 6,000 adults - by financial services giant Aviva - shows that millions of potential buyers have put their plans on hold.
Among those who paused their house-buying plans, delays relate mainly to financial concerns and worries about job security given the volatile economy.
Some 36 per cent of people who had planned to buy a home in 2020 but didn’t, say they were nervous about taking on additional financial commitments at that time and a fifth report that a member of the household lost their job or was furloughed.
One in seven of these hindered buyers had intended to move for a new job, but halted their plans because they started working from home.
Amongst older homeowners, there is also a sense that some were struggling to sell their homes, potentially because they tend to be larger and more expensive. “This ties in with the view that prospective buyers were reluctant to take on further debt” says Aviva.
One in six over-55s in this group of hopeful movers say they could not find a buyer for their property, compared to one in 10 across all age groups and just six per cent in the 25-34 age category.
In the vast majority of cases - no less than 94 per cent - people who paused their property-buying plans in 2020 still intend to purchase a home in the future.
However, they are prepared for a considerable wait, anticipating their purchase will be delayed by around 16 months on average. One prospective buyer in 10 expects their plan to be postponed by at least three years; within that, three per cent envisage a delay of at least five years.