Leeds has biggest rise in housing sales of any UK city and fourth biggest increase in house prices

Leeds has seen the biggest bounce back in property sales of any UK city, with a 21 per cent rise compared with February.

One reason for the rise was affordability of housing

The city is also one of the places where house prices have risen the most, up 3.4 per cent annually in May to average £169,700.

This is the fourth largest increase of any city in the UK, according to Zoopla, with Manchester seeing the biggest rise.

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The research shows that six weeks after the English housing market reopened, sales are 4 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels.

The reason Leeds had a particularly large increase was due to good levels of housing affordability and plenty of available homes.

Leeds is one of nine cities currently seeing a bounce in sales, which is being led primarily by cities in northern England, including Sheffield and Manchester too.

However, demand for homes is expected to weaken further over summer and into autumn, compounded by a reduction in higher LTV mortgages and the impact of COVID-19 on employment levels.

Richard Donnell, director of research and insight, said: “The rebound in housing market activity has taken many in the industry by surprise. It is welcome news given the projections for falling economic growth and rising unemployment. Estate agents and developers are responding and using the upsurge in demand to rebuild their sales pipelines and open up their developments.

“We see returning pent up demand and new buyers entering the market creating upward pressure on prices in the face of a lower supply of homes for sale which has been exacerbated by the lockdown. House price growth is set to hold up in the near term and we expect the downward pressure on prices to come in the final months of the year as demand weakens.

“While the average asking price for homes marked as sold on Zoopla are 7 per cent higher than a year ago this is down to an increase in sales in higher value markets where activity has remained subdued in recent years. We do not expect the rate of growth in the Zoopla House Price Index to reach this level, rather it is expected to hold steady at 2 per cent.”