"Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action."
Rightmove recorded an immediate release of pent-up homemover momentum on the first day the housing market reopened since the Covid-19 lockdown measures were introduced.
Homemover visits to Rightmove returned to pre-lockdown levels on Wednesday 13th May with almost 5.2 million visits, up 4% on the same day a year ago.
Unique sales enquiries doubled from Tuesday to Wednesday, and was only 10% behind the same day in 2019.
Additionally, rental demand also surges with highest unique enquiries in one day since September 2019
For the second month running, Rightmove is not issuing its usual house price index as there were too few properties coming to market to accurately measure movement in new asking prices.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, commented: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown, but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum, with the existing desire to move now being supplemented by some people’s unhappiness with their lockdown home and surroundings. Some may be unable or unwilling to move now, but those who are ready to take the plunge have jumped immediately into action.
"Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks. With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market. If there are attractive lower deposit mortgages available it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the housing market to stay closed until at least June."
Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, added: "This is really positive news on the Government bringing back the market, realising that property is the heart and soul of the UK economy, and has to be one of the first industries to re-open.
"Pent-up demand from buyers to move was stalled by lockdown, but never went away. Further stimulus from the government in the form of a possible stamp duty holiday, and assistance from banks who will hopefully be more innovative and flexible on mortgages, will allow buyers to move and be proactive, while also being comfortable to borrow.
"Restrictions will apply with regard to access but flexibility for valuers, agents, sellers and buyers, will allow them to work around the social distancing rules in a safe manner. It’s hard to determine what values will do until transactions pick up and it becomes more clear what level of stock will come to market, but the desire will be there even if it takes a while for the market to get moving again properly."