Demand for housing is now at the highest level since the second week of March, according to new research.
Estate agency Knight Frank has published data showing the number of new prospective buyers registering in the week ending 16 May was the highest in nine weeks.
The government reopened the housing market last week, enabling transactions and home visits to resume providing social distancing is adhered to, and the impact has been immediate.
James Clarke, head of London sales at Knight Frank, said: “Last week saw the first flicker of what we believe will be a strong surge in activity. In these early days it has become clear that the market will spring back to life more forcefully than most people would have imagined only a few weeks ago.”
The government estimates that more than 450,000 people have been unable to progress their plans to move home since lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March.
The majority of house moves have been on hold since then, with those in the middle of buying a house only allowed to move if “reasonably necessary” during the Covid-19 crisis.
Knight Frank reported last month that viewings plummeted 98% compared to the same period in 2019, while new properties listed for sale dropped 90%.
How Will This Affect House Prices?
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, experts have predicted that house prices will decrease by the end of 2020. But experts disagree on by how much, with projections ranging between 3-30%.
Current expectations for UK house prices in the coming weeks and months;@knightfrank -7%@RICSnews 11 months to recover@Savills -5% to -10%@Cebr_uk -13%@GarringtonUK -15% in places@bankofengland -16%@LloydsBank -30%
Me? -5% to -10% pic.twitter.com/Q4w0vy2meT
— Henry Pryor (@HenryPryor) May 18, 2020
Knight Frank said last week following the housing market reopening that it expected house prices to fall 7%, a prediction based on discounts that home buyers are asking for when making an offer. Reports last week suggested buyers were seeking discounts of up to 20%.
In March, homes were sold for 98% of their asking price on average, according to Knight Frank, and it predicts that there will be a loss of 526,000 sales in 2020 as the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic plays out.
Ultimately, experts tend to agree that the highly uncertain economic situation means that house price predictions are set to change throughout the year.