Stamp duty change helps to unlock housing market
By Rob Freeman | 20th July 2020
The cut in stamp duty has helped to fuel a surge in the housing market.
Figures from property website Rightmove showed a 35 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of sales agreed in England during the five days after Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement on July 8.
And Rightmove said the average price of a property coming on to the market in Britain reached £320,265 this month - up more than £7,000 on the previous record before lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.
Agreed sales had already risen by 15 per cent in June.
James Birt, managing director of Gloucestershire estate agent Naylor Powell, said the market has been busy either side of lockdown.
He said: "The Gloucestershire property market was very buoyant prior to lockdown and was recovering well immediately after restrictions were first eased.
"We were already seeing huge increase in demand with a 35 per cent increase in property valuations compared to the same period last year."
People have had time to reassess how they live. We have noticed a large number have also had time to finish off all those DIY jobs, saying their houses will never look better than they do now."
He continued: "Since Rishi Sunak's announcement clients are coming to us who had planned to move in the next two years.
"But, with the significant saving they can make, they have brought these plans forward.
"We are prepared for a busy summer and autumn and hope that we are able to make up for the two-month pause."
The reopening of the property market has also brought an increase in enquiries for Gloucester solicitors Tayntons.
Managing partner Andrew Ollerenshaw said: "Tayntons has seen an increase in new instructions of 33 per cent from May and 39 per cent for the same period in 2019.
"We are hoping the stamp duty changes announced by Rishi Sunak create enough momentum within the housing market to make up for lost time over the last three months, which would usually have amongst the most busy months in the conveyancing calendar.
"The systems and processes implemented by the firm during the coronavirus pandemic mean the firm is well placed to deal with the current and, hopefully, continuing increase in instructions."
Rightmove believes the figures will be reflected in other property trends in the coming month after Halifax reported a 0.1 per cent fall in UK house prices in June.
Director Miles Shipside said: "The unexpected mini-boom continues to gather momentum as more nations reopen.
"The busy spring market has picked up where it left off and has been accelerated by both time-limited stamp duty holidays and by homeowners reappraising their homes and lifestyles because of the lockdown."
Until March 31, the threshold for stamp duty has been lifted from £125,000 to £500,000.
Read how Naylor Powell and Tayntons dealt with major changes during the coronavirus lockdown in your new Punchline online magazine.
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