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Hundreds of thousands of home purchases on hold

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A total 373,000 transactions have been paused during the coronavirus crisis, with many expected to complete later this year
Hundreds of thousands of home purchases on hold

There are currently 373,000 property transactions on hold, according to Zoopla, as the housing market is suspended as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The property portal found that purchases with a total value of £82bn have been paused. The majority of those sales were agreed between November 2019 and February 2020, and would have been set to complete between April and June.

Some sales progressing

Zoopla also found that a small number of new deals are still being sold, Subject to Contract, largely based on viewings and progression of sales that took place ahead of the lockdown.

However, these new sales are running at a tenth of the levels recorded in early March, said Zoopla.

The demand for housing fell by 70% between the start of March and the week ending 29th March, with the greatest decline recorded ahead of the lockdown.

Despite a steady increase in buyers looking for homes, demand still remains 60% below the levels recorded at the start of March.

Housing sales in 2020 to fall by half

Zoopla’s latest forecast is that completed sales will be 50% lower in 2020 than 2019, allowing for a proportion of stalled sales to complete and with a delay to sales that would have progressed.

Richard Donnell, director of research & insight, said: “Without doubt, once the coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, we should expect the release of demand that has been building since Brexit and political uncertainty destabilised market sentiment.

“That said, the case for a stamp duty holiday to support a resumption of market activity is clear and a high proportion of savings are likely to be spent, further stimulating economic activity.”

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