UK property transactions fell 11% last year despite the impact of the pandemic and eight-week market shutdown, provisional government data shows.
It underlines the extent to which activity rebounded in the second half of last year, following a year-on-year decline of 57% in April during the first national lockdown.
Over the last quarter of 2020, sales volumes rose by 19% compared to 2019. To put the 11% annual decline in context, the eight-week shutdown was the equivalent of 15% of the whole year. The decrease also compares to a 43% decline in 2008 as the global financial crisis took hold.
“This puts the impact of Covid-19 on the property market into context,” said Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank. “Interest rates are lower than in 2008 and there has been a stamp duty incentive but that is only part of the story. After a subdued few years due to Brexit uncertainty and tax changes, an undercurrent of demand is propelling the market forwards and 2021 may also surprise on the upside.”