Rightmove puts brakes on monthly report due to data shortage

Rightmove is calling on the government to help get the market up and running again post-lockdown. Ge

Rightmove is calling on the government to help get the market up and running again post-lockdown. Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rightmove has effectively abandoned its monthly sales report due to a shortage of properties coming to the market.

“Given the lockdown and pausing of key activities in the housing market, statistics on the number of properties coming to market, new seller asking prices, and new sales agreed are not meaningful,” it said in its April house price index.

“You do not have a functioning market when buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell, and so the focus needs to be on what is required to help the market recover once the lockdown can safely be eased.”

The portal noted “for the record” that the average asking price of properties coming to market in this reporting period (March 8 to April 11) was down by 0.2 per cent to £311,950 month-on-month, and up 2.1 per cent year-on-year.

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly turned around what was the market’s best start to a year since 2016, with pre-lockdown sales agreed in the 12 months to March 23 up 11 per cent on 2019.

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But most vendors whose homes were already for sale have chosen for them to remain so, with the total available housing stock down by just 2.6 per cent since social distancing measures were introduced a month ago.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together.

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“This is being helped by mortgage lenders extending the life of existing mortgage offers by three months, and new legal rules on flexible completion dates.”

Rightmove also joined RICS and Knight Frank in calling for a stamp duty holiday from the government to help the market recover once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

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