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Coronavirus: Pandemic heaps uncertainty on house price growth



Jessica Clark

The UK’s coronavirus outbreak has heaped uncertainty on London’s housing market, which had started to rally following the Conservative general election victory.

The price of property coming to market in the capital surged 5.1 per cent year on year last month to an average of £638,826, the highest annual rate of growth since May 2016.

Meanwhile, the number of sales agreed has soared 34.4 per cent to the highest level in four years.

However, experts have warned that it is “hard to predict” how the rapid spread of coronavirus across the UK will affect the market over the next few months.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The market has been waiting several years for a London recovery.

“With a window of post-election political uncertainty, 2020 seemed set to be the year when many would look to make a move and satisfy their pent-up housing needs. However, the current fast pace of the housing market could now be affected by the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.”

Shipside added that there has not been any signs of a drop in buyer activity or interest in the housing market so far.

Across the UK house prices grew 3.5 per cent to £312,625  and the number of sales agreed jumped 17.8 per cent, according to Rightmove research. The online property platform recorded its five busiest days ever in February.

Marc von Grunderr, director at Benham and Reeves, said: “Covid-19 is of course a significant issue albeit one that enquiry levels and viewings do seem to be holding up for now and we should remain optimistic, firstly for a swift resolution to the pandemic, followed by a robust response from the markets including property which is clearly well placed to withstand current uncertainty.” chief executive Colby Short added: “The year has started strongly for property and we all realise that the current crisis of health will be temporary don’t we? But the question is, how temporary?”



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