Following the release of its forecast and housing market outlook earlier this week, Knight Frank has called for the government to think about how it will kick-start the market, starting with Stamp Duty.
Knight Frank’s analysis of sales data shows how abrupt the impact of COVID-19 was on the UK property market. In the week ended 14 March, there were 19% more sales than the five-year average. By the following week, a drop of 53% was recorded. By the week ended 4 April, sales rates were two-thirds of the five-year average.
Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank, said: “The government understands that moving house has enormous knock-on benefits for the wider economy.
“Anything it can do to kick-start the process once lockdown measures are relaxed will have ramifications far beyond the housing market. A material cut in stamp duty or an extended SDLT holiday should be central to these efforts.”
Based on the assumption that current movement restrictions are maintained through to the end of May, its view is that sales across the UK will total around 734,000 for the full year, a 38% decline from the level seen in 2019, with slightly smaller falls seen in Greater London and in the prime central London market.
Bill said: “While we expect a revival in activity to continue, with volumes next year expected to be 18% above the level seen in 2019, this expansion will not fully offset the drop in 2020. Of the nearly 526,000 sales we expect to be “lost” this year, fewer than half will be carried into 2021.”