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Covid crisis has created perfect property storm

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A third national lockdown has created a perfect storm for the property market, said property portal Zoopla this week.

The crisis has caused many people to make once in a lifetime reassessments of their housing needs, with many deciding they needed to move. The resulting buyer demand has not slowed but now vendors have pressed the pause button on listing their properties for sale, said Zoopla.

New listings were down 12 per cent in January compared to a year ago, said the firm. The net result is continued house price growth – up 4.3 per cent on the year, according to Zoopla.

‘Housing market momentum built up in the second half of 2020 has rolled into early 2021, despite a spike in the pandemic and a third lockdown’, said Zoopla’s research director Richard Donnell. ‘Sellers are more cautious however and appear to be waiting for Covid case numbers to drop much further before listing their home. 

‘The strength of the market in 2020 has eroded the available number of homes for sale and this will mean continued upward pressure on house prices in the short term. The most affordable parts of the UK are recording the highest rate of price growth for 10 years, up to 5.4 per cent a year. We still expect house price growth to slow towards 1 per cent by the end of the year.

‘The rush to beat the stamp duty deadline continues and sellers who agreed to buy a home in 2020 would reasonably expect to make the stamp duty saving. Delays mean we expect up to 70,000 sales agreed in 2020 to miss the deadline meaning the case for a short extension is growing’.