Property hunters undeterred by new lockdown

Property hunters undeterred by new lockdown
Credit: Colin McPherson/Bloomberg

Property portal Rightmove has recorded its busiest ever start to a new year, with visits to its site increasing by 30 per cent.

According to the portal, the number of buyers contacting estate agents rose by 11 per cent between January 2 and 6, compared with January 4-8 last year, while those enquiring about a property to rent was up 22 per cent.

Rightmove said the impending stamp duty holiday deadline, more people re-evaluating where they live and the housing market remaining open during the pandemic had all contributed to its busiest ever start.

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It added that visits continued to grow across the week after new lockdowns began in England and Scotland.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “We didn’t know how this year would start with so much change and uncertainty around restrictions, but it’s been reassuring for those people hoping or needing to move that the demand we’ve seen so far is the highest we’ve ever had in January.”

Similarly, Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said he was not seeing the same levels of “pandemic paralysis” that occurred last year despite another national lockdown.

The initial lockdown effectively closed the property market between late March and mid-May last year. But government guidance for England on the latest lockdown states the public can still move home and attend property viewings.

Mr von Grundherr said: “It’s been an explosive start to the year and it’s fair to say that for many, the Christmas period provided just a momentary period of respite from an otherwise extremely busy time for the UK property industry.”

James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, said: “This year has kicked off pretty much as last year ended with heightened levels of buyer demand driving the market forward at a rapid rate of knots.”

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