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House sales fell by 50% in May 2020

Sales of residential property in May decreased sharply compared to the same time last year, as the market was impacted by coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

According to statistics from HMRC, 46,230 property transactions were completed in May – 52% lower than figures recorded in May 2019.

This was a slight increase compared to April 2020, when 37,000 transactions were recorded.

Restrictions on the property market were put into place on 26 March 2020 as part of the Government's coronavirus response, effectively freezing house sales.

These rules were relaxed in England on 13 May, and in Wales on 22 June. In Scotland, housing market restrictions are due to be eased from 29 June.

Property website Zoopla said buyer demand across the UK was 46% higher in May than it was in early March, and expects to see further increases in demand as property markets reopen in different regions.

It said this high level of demand, combined with low numbers of homes for sale, is likely to prop up house prices in the short term.

However, it warned that wider economic pressures might cause a decrease in house prices by the end of 2020.

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