Rightmove: 5.2 million visited property portal on day property market lockdown eased

Ryan Fowler

May 18, 2020

residential property transactions

Rightmove saw almost 5.2 million visits as the property market re-opened on Wendesday 13 May – up 4% year-on-year, the property portal has confirmed. 

In lieu of its monthly House Price Index, which is paused due to the coronavirus crisis, Rightmove has released stats that show how market interest returned rapidly following the government’s announcement of changes to its housing market policy.

It found that sales demand (unique enquiries) doubled from Tuesday to Wednesday, and was just 10% behind the same day in 2019.

Rental demand also surged with highest unique enquiries in one day since September 2019

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown, but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum, with the existing desire to move now being supplemented by some people’s unhappiness with their lockdown home and surroundings.

“Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action.

“Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks.

“With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market.

“If there are attractive lower deposit mortgages available it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the housing market to stay closed until at least June.”

To control the spread of the virus, the government has produced housing-sector guidelines including stringent social distancing measures.

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said the figures showed that demand was still there whilst also calling for additional government stimulus.

“Pent-up demand from buyers to move was stalled by lockdown, but never went away.

“Further stimulus from the government in the form of a possible stamp duty holiday, and assistance from banks who will hopefully be more innovative and flexible on mortgages, will allow buyers to move and be proactive, while also being comfortable to borrow.

“Restrictions will apply with regard to access but flexibility for valuers, agents, sellers and buyers, will allow them to work around the social distancing rules in a safe manner.

“It’s hard to determine what values will do until transactions pick up and it becomes more clear what level of stock will come to market, but the desire will be there even if it takes a while for the market to get moving again properly.”

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