Property sales predicted to be buoyant till June

UK residential transactions in February 2021 were almost 50 per cent higher than the previous year and 23 per cent higher than January 2021, according to the latest data released by HMRC.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate was 147,050 transactions — 48.5 per cent higher than February 2020. The non-seasonally adjusted figure was 122,840 — 48.3 per cent higher than February 2020 and 26.4 per cent higher than January 2021.

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “Property transactions show no signs of slowing down as sales, incentivised by the stamp duty discount, complete. The fact that hundreds of thousands of agreements are still working their way through the system means this pattern will continue for many months.

“Meanwhile, the easing of lockdown restrictions, the end of home-schooling and a sense of the beginning of a return to normality may encourage more people to put their homes on the market. There is also likely to be pent-up demand from buyers, just as we saw after the first lockdown last year, who have been waiting for the right homes to come up for sale.

“We expect the property market will remain a hive of activity, but anyone about to embark on a home purchase above £250,000 should now be budgeting to pay stamp duty as the industry is continuing to see a significant backlog of sales, and completions are still taking longer than usual.”

Forty per cent of properties that went onto the market in January were sold within 31 days, according to another set of data published by Andrews Property Group. 

The figure, the highest since pre-Covid, was most likely fuelled by buyers hoping to beat the stamp duty deadline, which has now been extended till June.

Sales data across Andrews’ 50 offices in the south of England, shows that buyer activity picked up in January and buyers were highly motivated to make offers and progress transactions.

Across 2020 as a whole, 27 per cent of all new listings went under offer within a month.

Andrews Property Group group chief executive David Westgate said market activity had been turbo-charged since the stamp duty holiday was extended in the March budget. “Properties are flying out the door and we fully expect the market to be buoyant all the way through to the end of June, when the £500,000 tax break is reduced to £250,000.” 

23 March 2021

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