House price growth and transactions slowed even before the coronavirus outbreak – Land Registry

Annual house price growth slowed at the start of the year and transactions also dropped, Land Registry data shows.

The price figures reported for January represent deals that will have been agreed last autumn, before the General Election, and completed in December.

Provisional sales volume figures for November 2019, coinciding with Brexit uncertainty and the run-up to the election, suggest transactions decreased by 5.6% in England, by 10.2% in Wales and by 1.5% in Scotland, but increased by 5.0% in Northern Ireland.

Many agents spoke of the market picking up in the new year off the back of the so-called Boris bounce, but that was before the coronavirus outbreak made its way to UK shores.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “It shows what might have been and what still could be,  even though increases are a little more modest than the previous month’s surprise spike, as long as the pandemic can be brought under control relatively quickly.

“On the ground, viewings may have dried up but enquiries haven’t.

“Many, already fed-up with enforced confinement, are clearly hoping to move in the short rather than the longer term.

“If that is the case, we don’t expect prices to suffer too badly if the current shortage of listings continues and government assistance keeps as many in work as possible.”

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