Value of properties sold in England and Wales fall 38% in COVID year

Saleha Riaz
·2 min read
Houses in London. Photo: Getty Images
Houses in London. Photo: Getty Images

England and Wales saw £171.7bn ($238bn) worth of residential property sold in 2020, a 38% fall when compared with 2019, according to a new report.

Estate agent Keller Williams analysed residential property sales between January and December of last year to see what impact the stamp duty holiday had on the market.

The report said that although the total figure was down from £2.8bn in 2019, it was "an extremely respectable performance given the tricky landscape posed by the pandemic."

CEO of Keller Williams UK, Ben Taylor, noted the "detrimental impact the pandemic had on market activity over the last year."

"This is even more significant when you consider that it’s compared with a 2019 market that was already operating sluggishly due to Brexit uncertainty," he said.

However, he added that "when considering all of these factors, it makes the late rally shown by the property market in the wake of a stamp duty holiday introduction all the more impressive."

Chart: Keller Williams UK
Chart: Keller Williams UK

When it comes to the most valuable pockets of the property market, London took the top three spots.

Westminster saw the highest sum of property sold prices (£2.9bn). Kensington and Chelsea came in second with £2.7bn worth of property sold, while Wandsworth was the third most valuable home selling hotspot with £2.5bn worth of property selling last year.

READ MORE: Most UK homebuyers want to see stamp duty holiday extended

With almost £2bn in property sold over the last year, Cornwall in South West England was the most valuable market outside of the capital. Birmingham also ranked high with £1.8bn in property sales in 2020.

WATCH: What do stamp duty cuts mean for buyers and house prices?

Leeds (£1.75bn) Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (£1.7bn), Wiltshire (£1.5bn), Bristol (£1.45bn), Dorset (£1.45bn) and Cheshire East (£1.4bn) also ranked as some of the most valuable areas of the property market outside London.

Since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday (due to end on 31 March) last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the housing market skyrocketed with mortgage approvals, transactions and house prices all increasing in 2020.

Although many have pointed to the holiday as the reason for the heightened activity, just 25% of homebuyers stated that it was the driving motivation behind their decision to buy, with 71% buying for alternative reasons, according to the survey of over 1,000 UK homebuyers, as per a report from last month.

And Moving Home Advice also said last month that market demand will not tumble once the stamp duty holiday ends.

Meanwhile, much of the UK property industry expects house prices to fall in the next three months, amid lockdown and home-schooling.

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