With lockdown regulations easing and estate and letting agents back to work it appears that the property business is looking very active in the short term.

According to Rightmove, the property portal, they received 5.2 million hits to it’s website on May 13th– which is a 4% increase on the same time last year. On the same day Rightmove reported a large surge in rental enquiries too – the biggest single day since the previous September. As viewings (in person) began again some estate agents reported their phones ringing ‘off the hook’

Is this surprising?

With the industry effectively on hold for two to three months one would expect that delay on house purchases to ‘carry over’, although contrary to that, we have a situation where many people are on furlough or have had an even bigger cut to their earnings.

So, where are we? Well the majority of the homes that were listed before the lockdown remain active – some 50,000 for sale and slightly more than that in London, for example. And according to Homes and Property there has been a week-on-week increase of 111% since restrictions were lifted, meaning that we are getting close to parity with the size of the market at this time last year.

Prices have fallen however, slightly more than anticipated. London estate agents Knight Frank originally forecast a decline of 3% for 2020 as a direct result of the virus. They have since downgraded that to 7%, most have which has already occurred. The majority of other experts opine that it’s still too early to predict.

Miles Shipside, (Rightmove director and housing market analyst) said: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum.” He went on to add: “We expect (this) momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks. 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 market to stay closed until at least June.”

In Harlow, the Old Town and the Villages we have certainly seen a huge surge in interest since re-opening. In the first three weeks (or 12 working days) we have put together 13 new house sales which amounts to £4,513,500 of property value which is incredible. There are also two more deals we are about to tie up that will push us through the £5,000,000 mark! These house sales are from £110,000 to £800,000 so there is interest in all price sectors.

Interesting times, indeed.


The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.



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