British home sales hit record after lockdown

Lockdowns have got many reassessing things at home.

And as scores of Britons decide to quit big-city living, the housing market is moving at a pace.

A record number of homes were bought and sold between mid July and early August, bucking the usual summer slowdown.

On Monday (August 17) property website Rightmove, which says it is used by 90% of British estate agents, reported the highest number of home sales since it began tracking data more than 10 years ago.

And the most recent figures from the Bank of England showed a sharp rebound in demand for mortgages - although fewer loans were approved than before the pandemic.

Average asking prices for August were 4.6% higher than a year earlier.

Only in London was there the typical 2% monthly fall in summer asking prices.

Rightmove said the out-of-city exodus helped push prices to record levels in rural Devon and Cornwall

And that "working from home means a different lifestyle much closer to your new doorstep".

Estate agents also told Rightmove that buyers had been given extra impetus to move by the temporary exemption from property purchase taxes for homes costing up to 500,000 pounds, or about $655,000.

But demand was up across the board even before that announcement.

And the normal summer softening in demand failed to materialise.