The first week of the second lockdown had little impact on the property market, with exchanges growing by 11% between Monday and Thursday last week, according to data from Knight Frank.
The number of viewings that took place between Monday and Thursday last week was 15% lower than the previous week. However, the number of valuation appraisals was 38% higher over the same period.
The research shows that a number of agents have said their diary became quieter after the lockdown was announced. Knight Frank says part of that was caused by some initial confusion around whether the property market was remaining open. However, other agents said have not noticed a major change in the first week and some have reported a stronger resolve to act.
Anecdotally, agents have said that the most in-demand properties have continued to attract interest over the last week, despite the lockdown.
Additionally, momentum appears to be holding stronger for transactions already underway, meaning second and third viewings are less likely to be postponed than first viewings.
Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank said, “The timing of the lockdown is somewhat ironic because it comes as many are warning that parts of the conveyancing system are struggling to cope with the current volume of transactions. That fact is unlikely to change and some parts of the system may come under more strain during this second lockdown.
“The chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, a professional body that represents estate agents, was one of a number of industry figures to call for an extension of the stamp duty holiday last week for this reason.
“Indeed, the number of exchanges in prime London markets reached its highest level in five years last month as more deals began coming to fruition. It is also true that most exchanges still relate to deals that pre-date the first lockdown.
“If the second lockdown is not extended, it therefore feels like it will put a small dent in the performance of a resurgent property market, but little more.
“Whether that dent becomes bigger or disappears in coming months depends on two events outside the control of the property market – the arrival of a treatment or vaccine for Covid-19 and the avoidance of a no-deal cliff-edge Brexit.”