Hopes that the property market will survive the coronavirus pandemic without a major slump were raised today when one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders said it had seen dramatic surge in viewing appointments.
Taylor Wimpey said there had been a threefold increase in bookings in the final week of last month compared with the same time last year, as well as a 32 per cent rise in traffic on its website.
Since the start of the lockdown only 306 buyers have cancelled their purchases, lower than the 386 in the same nine-week period in 2019.
The company, which has major developments in London in Clerkenwell, the City, Mill Hill and Whetstone, said it had restarted construction “on the majority of its sites in England and Wales” and reopened most of its English sales centres and show homes.
All Taylor Wimpey’s furloughed staff have returned to work.
There was also brighter news from Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Halifax, which revealed that prices only fell 0.2 per cent last month, although it was the third successive monthly decline.
The average cost of a home in the UK dipped from £238,314 to £237,808, still 2.6 per cent higher than a year previously.
Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “We expect market activity to increase progressively as restrictions are eased further across the whole of the UK and we continue to have confidence in the underlying health of the housing market over the long-term.”
But the effect of the virus in the motor sector continued with car maker Bentley expected to announce up to 1,000 job losses at its plant in Crewe today.
It will bring the jobs cuts this week alone to 3,000 after Aston Martin said it would shed 500 posts, and dealership Lookers warned of 1,500 redundancies.
Source: Homes & Property