It is June and the start of the Great British Summer again.
This June however is significantly different to the last one as the cloud of significant economic uncertainty hangs over us in a way unseen in our lifetime. We are of course totally used to seeing other kinds of clouds in the British Summer, but the question is are there clear skies ahead for the property market?
Well it certainly seems like the property market is starting to pick up since its re-opening on the 13th May 2020. The latest TwentyCi data suggests that in the last week, we are now operating at 75% of 2019 norms. All of our indicators are suggesting that the market is bouncing back with a rate and pace which belies the fact that a large section of the economy is still locked down.
Given the fact that it is now June and we have a complete set of property market data for 5 months of 2020, we decided to use this issue of the client briefing to review the year thus far.
The number of properties coming to the market by month since the start of 2020 and a comparison with 2019 volumes is shown in the chart below:
This is where we see the real impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. January and February saw the market tracking in line with 2019, then a decline in March with the low point coming in April where the 2020 market was only 14% of 2019. Whilst we have seen a rise in May from April, we are still a way off 2019 numbers, but we are expecting June to be a lot brighter based on the last two weeks of data.
The number of properties with Sales Agreed by month since the start of 2020 and a comparison with 2019 volumes is shown in the chart below:
The pattern of Sales Agreed was actually higher in January and February this year than in 2019 – we put this down to the so called “Boris Bounce”. However, since March, we see a similar pattern too with New Instructions. In fact, the April low of Sales Agreed was 15% of 2019, which is a similar number to the 14% low of New Instructions.
The number of properties with Exchanges by month since the start of 2020 and a comparison with 2019 volumes is shown in the chart below:
The level of Exchanges shows a different picture to both New Instructions and Sales Agreed. To a certain extent, this is what gives us confidence about the market in the future.
To put this in simple terms, what we have already established is that whilst individuals were far less likely to put their house up for sale or agree a sale on a new property during the Covid-19 lockdown, the dip in Exchanges was significantly less pronounced.
In fact, in April (again the low), Exchanges were at 68% of 2019 volumes as opposed to the 14-15% of New Instructions and Sales Agreed.
This must mean that underlying confidence in the property market remained strong in lockdown in that individuals did not pull out of their property purchases and this fact is encouraging for the future.
We will of course continue to keep an eye on this for you in the coming weeks and months.