House Price Index for April; Visitors Down 40%

Visits to Rightmove fell by about 40% at the time of the government’s lockdown announcement, but has since started to show some signs of improvement, according to the Rightmove House Price Index for April 2020.

Rightmove House Price Index for April 2020

The house price index for April (representing the period 8th March to 11th April) reports that there were insufficient properties coming to market to provide meaningful new seller asking prices.

This dramatic change in the property market comes just a few weeks since we were seeing the very positive upturn following the Conservative victory in December.  The pre-lockdown numbers from Rightmove report the best start to a year to new sales since 2016.  Sales agreed in the year to 23rd March were up 11% on the same period in 2019.

For the record, Rightmove say that the average asking price of the daily dwindling number of properties coming to market saw a monthly price fall of 0.2% to £311,950, with the annual rate of increase from last April being 2.1%.

The Rightmove House Price Index for April reports that estate agents are focussing currently on keeping existing sales in hand and potential seller hanging in there.  The total available stock on Rightmove is down just 2.6% since the lockdown.  New innovations by estate agents have included virtual property viewings and valuations.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst observes: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together.”

What will it take to kick-start the market again once according to the Rightmove house index for March?

  • Government incentives and a continuation of the mortgage lending terms as per pre-lockdown
  • Forbearance of lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover
  • Safe viewing innovation by the property industry

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst observes: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together. While some buyers may express concern over the possibility of short-term dips in house prices, many are taking the longer-term view and living up to their commitments to proceed. This is being helped by mortgage lenders extending the life of existing mortgage offers by three months, and new legal rules on flexible completion dates.”

Shipside adds: “Owners need to be encouraged to move by reducing the costs of moving, and prospective buyers encouraged to buy by reducing the costs of funding their purchase. Given the government’s interventionist strategy to date that might include encouragement for lenders to resume business as usual with their full range of products when it’s safe to do so. We need to avoid a repeat of the post-credit-crunch mortgage famine which took from 2008 until the 2013 launch of Help to Buy to bring the mass market back into play with low-deposit mortgages.”

You can read the full Rightmove House Price Index for April 2020 here.

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