Initially announced in 2020, the stamp duty holiday was intended to aid homeowners through the buying process during the pandemic.
As expected, many took this opportunity to upgrade to their dream home or purchase their next investment, as savings of up to £15,000 were up for grabs.
Although it was thought that activity would begin to peter out at the end of last year, that hasn't been the case as the market is still seeing healthy levels of interest and activity.
As of mid-January, there were around 613,000 properties at 'sale agreed', waiting for legal completion ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31st.*
Amongst these, it is believed that 100,000 may not complete in time to secure stamp duty savings.
However, buyers and sellers alike appear mostly unfazed and are continuing to buy and sell regardless of the deadline, which may be as a result of the increasing availability of mortgage products with 10% deposits.
According to Rightmove, those looking to sell in January were also pricing their properties competitively, allowing for quicker sales.
One possible explanation for this is that property priorities have changed in the past 12 months due to sellers needing more space and falling out of love with their current home, making their need to move more urgent.
Similarly, buyer activity has continued to surge, with market levels exceeding that of January 2020.
During a 10-day period in January, there was a reported 12% increase in estate agency enquiries and a 9% increase on sales agreed from 2020.
Combined with the fact that Rightmove are seeing ever-increasing website visit numbers, which in January were 33% higher than last year, these statistics give homeowners and buyers a promising opportunity in 2021.
Rightmove’s director of Property Data, Tim Bannister, suggests: “As we entered the new year and a new lockdown, the housing market remains open but is focused on the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday and on the challenges of the pandemic.
These major influences on mover behaviour are clouding the 2021 outlook, but Rightmove’s early January market-leading indicators of buyer demand and the number of actual sales being agreed are looking robust, showing that there are many compelling reasons other than the stamp duty savings to make buyers enter the market in 2021.”
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