Wealthy homeowners from London and the South East rushing to flee the city could be to thank for a five-year housing market high, according to a new report.
Despite the UK entering its deepest recession on record, the number of agreed upon-sales recorded since May by property search website Zoopla was 79% higher than average recorded over the last five-years.
Experts at the property portal claim the unexpected boost is down to the effects of lockdown, which offered a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity for home shoppers to reappraise what they want from their property.
Leading the pack are wealthy homeowners living in London and the South East, who have reignited a market that had become sluggish over the past five years.
More homes being listed for sale in areas with wealthier demographics goes some way to explain the strength of the housing market at a time of recession and rising unemployment. With half of all homeowners having no mortgage and a large portion of the remainder having considerable equity in their homes, the constraints of affordability and mortgage availability are not spread equally across buyers and sellers. The demographic profile of households is not uniformly distributed by geography. We believe part of this shift reflects an increase in activity in London and south-east England, where housing sales volumes in 2019 were up to 20% lower than in 2015Said: Richard Donnell Research and Insight Director at Zoopla
According to Zoopla's data, indoor and outdoor space has become a top priority for many movers, compared to before the lockdown.
Three-bedroom homes are now the fastest-selling property on the market, taking on average just 24 days from listing to completion of the sale.
Larger four and five-bedroom properties located away from the commuter belts are also under high demand, selling in just two-thirds of the time they did at the same time last year.
And while the humble apartment is lagging behind compared to its spacious countryside counterparts, city-dwellers hoping to sell up need not despair: while flats are taking slightly longer to sell, the market is still brisk, with completion averaging just 32 days.
Zoopla's findings seem to echo the surprising boom being reported by much of the industry, marked by a cultural shift in what consumers look for in a home.
More outside space and the benefits of being closer to friends and family are high on the 'must-have' list for many movers. As working from home becomes more commonplace moving cross-country looks to be more achievable for many as there is less of a need to be within a short commute to the office. If the findings of this research are reflected in the housing market, we could well see a trend for people to leave urban areas in favour of more rural locations.Said: Commenting on the House Price Index, Barclays Chief Behavioural Scientist Dr Peter Brooks.
Despite the unwinding of the furlough scheme in coming months, the property portal expects the year to end on a high, with 2-3% growth in the market predicted at the close of the financial year.
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