Property sales plunged to lowest level recorded over lockdown

The June uptick was led by the English market, which saw a 53pc jump in transactions between since May. The monthly total was down 26.8pc on June 2019.

In Northern Ireland, the number of transactions more than doubled, from just 540 in May to a total of 1,530 in June.

These markets were the first to reopen after the housing market freeze; sales were given the green light to restart in England on May 13, while the Northern Irish market reopened on June 18. Restrictions were only lifted in Wales and Scotland on June 22 and June 29. 

As transaction numbers typically reflect sales that were agreed six to eight weeks previously, the recovery currently being reported in these markets will not start to filter into the statistics significantly until the July and August numbers are released. 

The newly announced stamp duty holidays in each country in the United Kingdom will help to speed up the pace of sales, but agents warn that reaching a normal rate of sales volumes will not make up for the lost months.

The pace of recovery is also likely to be curtailed as unemployment rises.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent, said the stamp duty holiday means that buyers have been bringing forward their decisions to move. However, “there is still concern that improved conditions will be relatively short-lived as economic news deteriorates and furlough support falls away.”

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