The United Kingdom saw the highest number of monthly housing sales brokered in more than 10 years in July as coronavirus restrictions were eased, according to research by online property site Rightmove.
The study, published on Monday, said a “post-lockdown mini-boom” saw sales soar 20 percent above the previous high in March 2017, with a record total value of more than 37 billion pounds ($48bn).
Rightmove said the increase was driven by an exodus from London, which saw a 2.0 percent drop in prices, and a rise almost everywhere else.
Record sales were registered in seven regions outside the capital, including Devon and Cornwall in southwest England, it said in its monthly survey.
The UK was locked down in late March as the virus took hold, forcing many people to work from home.
Rightmove said the restrictions forced many homeowners and buyers to look for a better quality of life, more space and less commuting, particularly in London.
“Rather than just a release of existing pent-up demand due to the suspension of the housing market during lockdown, there’s an added layer of additional demand due to people’s changed housing priorities after the experience of lockdown,” said Rightmove Director Miles Shipside.
“This is also keeping up the momentum of the unexpected mini-boom, which is now going longer and faster.”
The UK’s housing market is also being boosted by a temporary suspension on transaction tax for properties below 500,000 pounds ($654,000) as part of a government stimulus package.
Uncertainty associated with the UK’s departure from the European Union has hit the housing market in recent years, leading to homeowners and buyers postponing decisions.