Latest data reveals a notable uptick in new instructions and sales agreed and a lower rate of price reductions over the course of May and into June.

Research by Property Solvers, experts in selling houses fast, has tracked key house sales data across the Newcastle postcodes (NE) since the onset of the coronavirus lockdown.

Using the UK’s largest portal, Rightmove, they observed the number of new instructions, sales agreed and price reductions since the start of March shortly before the country hunkered down.

The data for the last three months is presented in the chart below:

According to Property Solvers’ co-founder Ruban Selvanayagam, “as the lockdown came into full force, the volume of new instructions across the region took a predictable turn for the worse.”

In May, across the Newcastle region (NE postcodes), there were 689 new house sale instructions in sharp contrast to the 2,127 seen in May 2019.

Quick home buying companies like Property Solvers, as well as property auctioneers and other organisations that are capable of handling the entire sales process remotely have been able to push on to some extent during lockdown.

However, many house hunters refuse to make an offer unless they have attended a viewing – something that has not been possible while strict protective measures remained in place.

Mortgage lending was frozen between March and May, causing most house hunters to put their plans on the back burner for the foreseeable.

Furthermore, thousands of sales in progress across the UK were forced to be frozen as the lockdown came into effect. 

In April, the Guardian published an estimated country-wide figure of 373,000 existing sales put on hold since lockdown began, equating to around £82 billion in value. Since that time, both buyers and sellers have been keen for their chain to restart.

As of mid May, the mortgage market has reopened and viewings are once again permitted – albeit with new safety measures in place.

“With strict social distancing rules in place, estate agents were unable to conduct viewings and conduct their day-to-day business in the normal way.  Although conveyancers and mortgage advisors were able to operate remotely, the industry effectively froze,” Selvanayagam commented.

However, as the coronavirus-related infection dropped, the death toll tapered and some of the lockdown measures were eased in May, the market has clearly started to pick up again. So far in June (up to 12th), 657 sales have been agreed across the NE postcodes.

Ruban underlines that although we’re clearly not out of the woods, these are encouraging signs.

“As is being advised across all sectors, now’s the time for agents and those operating in the industry as a whole to take extra precautionary steps – particularly as there’s no certainty that a second wave of infections will not come our way.”

A rejuvenated housing market will aid significantly in the regrowth of the country’s floundering economy, but the UK’s property industry cannot allow economic recovery to become its single highest priority. 

While the protection of individual livelihoods remains vital, the health and wellbeing of buyers, sellers and employees within the sector must always come first.