The number of new property sales agreed since the housing market re-opened is close to pre-lockdown levels, new data from Zoopla suggest.
Four weeks on from the lifting of restrictions on property viewings and home moves in England, Zoopla says that sales are now 12% below levels seen in early March before the pandemic caused a shutdown of activity.
The average asking price of sales agreed in the last week was 6% higher than a year ago suggesting indices may not register immediate price falls in the short term.
Demand for housing is now 54% higher than at the start of March, as pent-up demand returns to the property market.
This is measured by looking at the number of property hunters who are actively engaged in finding out more about a property, including by making online enquiries.
Zoopla believes the pandemic has created a one-off boost to demand and brought a whole new cohort of would-be movers into the housing market.
London appears to be lagging behind other regional markets in England as buyers look outside the capital.
Scotland and Wales continue to record low levels of new sales as their markets remain closed.
The biggest boost to sales has been in higher price brackets, with the number of sales of £1m-plus homes 16% above early March levels.
Zoopla director of research and insight Richard Donnell says: “The rebound in housing demand over the last month is not solely explained by a return of pent-up demand.
“Covid has brought a whole new group of would-be buyers into the housing market.”
He adds: “New sales in London are lagging slightly behind as buyers look at commuting and moving into the regions.
“Higher asking prices for newly agreed sales means that house price indices may not register immediate price falls.
“Lower asking prices for homes sold over the lockdown period may drag down indices over May, but this new data suggests house price growth is set to remain positive in the next two months.
“We still believe that this spike in demand will be short-lived as the economic impacts of covid start to feed through into market sentiment and levels of market activity in the second half of 2020.”