New-build market transactions plummet during pandemic

The level of new-build property transactions seen across England and Wales has plummeted, having previously shown strong growth prior to the pandemic, finds new research.

New-build sales optimisation platform Unlatch analysed property transaction data across England and Wales to find what percentage of total market activity has come via the new-build market over the past five years.

The research shows that at a national level, the market share accounted for by the new-build sector had been slowly growing, up from 11% in 2017 to 12% in 2018 and hitting a peak of 13% in 2019.

However, the outbreak of Covid-19 seems to have stunted this sector growth considerably, with new-build transactions falling to 10% of all market activity in 2020 and then plummeting to just 2% in 2021.

Wales has seen the lowest level of new-build transactions over the last year with the sector accounting for just 1% of all market activity – down from a peak of 8%.

brown brick building under blue sky during daytime

Lee Martin, Head of UK for Unlatch, said: ‘The new-build market was gaining a great deal of traction prior to the pandemic and the proportion of total transactions coming via the sector was showing steady growth on an annual basis.

‘However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, this proportion of market activity has declined significantly and new-build homes now account for by far the lowest proportion of total market activity in the last five years.

‘What we’re currently seeing is the knock-on effect of initial Covid restrictions that stifled housebuilder abilities to actually construct new homes, as well as further hesitations around bringing this stock to market amid fears of declining property values.

‘The silver lining to this decline is that it has been very much driven by the pandemic and with these restrictions now lifted and these fears put to bed following a property market boom, the expectation is a reversal in fortunes over the coming year and beyond.’

In related news, a report calls for a pan regional strategy to deliver much-needed homes for the Black Country, with a consultation in 2021 revealing that there is now a significant shortfall in housing land in the area for the period up to 2039.

Photo by James Feaver


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