Britain’s biggest property website, Rightmove, saw its busiest day on record this week indicating the housing market is picking up as lockdown eases.
Rightmove received more than six million visits for the first time on 27 May, an 18% increase on the previous year.
Record levels of people also phoned and emailed estate agents via the website with over a quarter of people who were not planning a move before lockdown now entering the market.
The rush comes after the UK government began allowing estate agents to open, viewings to be carried out and removal firms and conveyancers to restart operations, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of sales being agreed by agents is starting to pick up but is still down 47% down on last year, an improvement on the 90% decrease when the market paused.
“Usually we record our busiest days of the year in January and February and almost never when there is warm weather, so the combination of pent-up demand being released, new people entering the market and no half-term holidays during lockdown has led to this late spring boost.
“The challenge agents are facing is handling this surge in enquiries, having a process to deliver virtual viewings, and setting up socially distanced and safe physical viewings,” said Rightmove’s commercial director Miles Shipside.
Coastal areas of Cornwall, Devon and Bournemouth are seeing the biggest jump in buyer interest, plus northern locations of Warrington, Manchester and Wigan, according to Rightmove.
“Areas with beautiful scenery and a potentially quieter life are proving to be popular as home-movers’ priorities start to shift and outside space becomes more important.
“There are also those considering a move further out now that they’ve realised they can work out of the office and may be finding they can get more for their money in some of the south west and northern locations,” said Shipside.