Coronavirus: Property sales down 70% since lockdown, says Zoopla

Houses in London

The number of new property sales agreed in the UK has fallen by 70% since the start of the coronavirus restrictions, according to homes listing site Zoopla.

Properties were still selling and being newly listed until the start of the restrictions on 23 March, when, among other things, the government urged people not to move house.

However, sales have continued since then, although at much lower levels.

Sellers have not been taking their properties off the market, Zoopla said.

The number of homes for sale - per estate agent - is only 1% lower than it was on 7 March.

Zoopla's research and insight director Richard Donnell said: "There has been no mass withdrawal of homes from the market as agents and consumers adopt a wait-and-see approach.

"The closure of estate agency branches and general uncertainty has resulted in far fewer sales agreed in the last two weeks, with less new supply coming to the market."

The number of people wanting to find out more about properties or to view them started to decline in early March, and has dropped by more than 60% over the past month.

However, there has been a rise in people browsing properties over the past week.

Last month, the government did not ban people moving house, but advised against it for the purpose of social distancing.

It said: "There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times.

"When the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance... on home removals.

"Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move."