Half of buyers gave up looking for homes before gov’t market suspension

Ryan Fowler

April 7, 2020

Nearly half of active buyers stopped looking for a new home before the government ‘suspended’ the housing market, according to research from Trussle.

The government temporarily froze the housing market in late March, discouraging buyers and sellers from moving house.

But before those measures were announced, some 49% of those planning to buy decided to ‘stop looking for a new home’ as a result of COVID-19.

The online broker also found that people who’ve been planning to buy or sell a property expect, on average, to suspend their plans for five months.

However, despite the scale of the disruption, one-in-six homeowners are thinking about remortgaging in the near-term.

Trussle’s research found that, on average, customers who remortgage to avoid lapsing onto their lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) could save on average £344 per month or £4,128 per year.

Of those who are considering switching, the majority (66%) are aged between 25 and 44. Nearly a quarter of those (24%) thinking about switching due to coronavirus are based in Greater London – the highest proportion.

This is followed by those in the South East (13%) and the West Midlands (10%). Northern Ireland has the lowest take-up, with just 1% of those considering switching being based there, Wales is second with just 2%.6

Ian Larkin, CEO of Trussle, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has not only had a huge impact on the economy, but also on everyday life in the UK.

“Just last month, it would have been nearly impossible to contemplate the scale of the lockdown and its economic impact.

“We’re now feeling the effects in the housing market and it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for transactions to return to pre-crisis levels.

“With the government’s latest plea discouraging buyers from moving house, It’s entirely understandable that people are putting off their housing plans.

“At a time of financial uncertainty, it’s a good time to think about your personal outgoings. We know that people could save an average of £4,100 per year just by switching their mortgage to a better deal5.

“During these uncertain times, people are taking steps to protect themselves financially. Reducing mortgage payments, the biggest monthly outgoing most homeowners will face, is a priority for many.”

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