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Property industry reaction to Rightmove House Price Index

The average asking price of property coming to market increased by 1.8% in October, the biggest rise at this time of year since October 2015, according to Rightmove.

The data reveals that the number of property sales being agreed was up 15.2% in September, versus 2019’s ‘normal market’ comparison.

Property industry reaction:

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “We’ve seen a second wave of activity hit the market in the wake of the stamp duty holiday as those who refrained from the chaotic market conditions seen over the last year now decide to take the plunge.

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“With the market remaining particularly buoyant, those entering with a property to sell are pricing high and this has caused yet further growth where asking prices are concerned. While initial asking price expectations are perhaps a little over-optimistic, to say the least, a lack of stock to satisfy demand means that homes are selling fast and for a very good price.

“We’re certainly starting to see stronger signs of a London market revival. House price growth across the capital has remained fairly muted in contrast to the rest of the nation but a return to the workplace and the return of foreign interest is starting to drive the market forward.

“Don’t be surprised to see London regain the property price growth top spot before the year is out.”

The managing director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, said: “Instead of stumbling over the hurdle of a final stamp duty holiday deadline as many predicted, the market has posted an incredibly strong performance with asking prices climbing across every region.

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“We’re now seeing definitive proof that while the stamp duty holiday may have acted as a starting pistol where the property market revival was concerned, the race certainly hasn’t been run and this strong upward growth is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon.

“While it seems too soon to talk about Christmas, it won’t be long before it arrives and while many will be eying the New Year with regard to selling their home, now is the time to get your house in order so that come the 1st January you’re on the market and attracting interest.”

The founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented: “This latest market performance may come as a surprise to some but we are heading into what is traditionally a very busy period for the housing market and we can expect to see more of the same as the end of the year approaches.

“Of course, the question is how long it will last and the answers to that question lie with the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Should the decision be made to threaten our economic recovery with an increase in interest rates, we could the housing market slow considerably.”

Mark Ross, managing director of Redbrik, remarked: “Stock shortages continue to drive prices upwards, though accurate pricing rather than over-pricing is very important to get prospective buyers through the door.

“We expect prices to continue to rise, albeit at a steadier pace. This should give buyers and sellers more confidence to come to the market as they better understand the less frantic conditions.

“Extrapolating the market fluctuations, we’ve seen property firmly re-establish itself as a reliable long-term investment for owner-occupiers and investors alike. While we expect a 0.5% increase in the mortgage rate over the next six months, we predict rates will remain comparatively low as banks, and building societies compete for business.”

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Wire

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House prices up 3.6% across England and Wales in the year to September 2021

Average house prices increased by 3.6% across England and Wales in the year to September 2021, according to e.surv Chartered Surveyors’ House Price Index.

On a monthly basis, average property prices rose by 1.2% between August and September 2021.

Overall, e.surv found that the average price of a house in England and Wales was £328,610 at the end of September.

The data also shows that while some regions like the North East suffered their largest fall in the annual rate of growth (down by 6.3%) over the month, other areas like Wales fared much better.

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Wales comfortably out-performed the rest of the country – having the smallest fall in price growth from 12.2% down to 11.2%.

Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said: “House price growth is clearly in retreat in headline terms but there is little evidence of prices stagnating or falling. Indeed, regionally, there are substantial pockets of resistance to overall falls in house price growth.

“The Land Transaction Tax holiday came to an end at the end of June – but the tax savings available in Wales were not as large as in England (£2,450 in Wales vs £15,000 in England).

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“This is we think a key reason potentially why the fall in prices in Wales has not been as significant as in England over the past few months. Wales therefore stands out as having the highest annual rate of price growth at 11.2%.

“In terms of property types, it’s worth noting too that, while the pandemic drove a race for space the price of flats in September staged a small recovery with the largest gains in flat prices being seen in prime central London and in Hammersmith and Fulham.

“On September’s data, there is little evidence that home buyers are being spooked by the end of the furlough scheme. Data from government points to a resilient job market that will further underpin buyer and lender confidence.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK housing market still steaming despite looming stamp duty break cut off

The looming end of a watered down tax break on house purchases has not cooled the UK’s rampant housing market, according to official figures released today.

Brits took on £21.5bn in mortgage debt last month, up sharply from July’s figure of £16.6bn, shows Bank of England data.

A record low interest rate environment has propped up demand in the housing market as Brits rush to lock in cheaper mortgages.

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However, the prospect of rates rising on mortgages is strengthening. The Bank of England signalled last week it has seen strong progress in the UK economy that may prompt it to tighten monetary policy soon.

The watered down stamp duty holiday will end tomorrow, possibly triggered a sharp correction in demand in the property market.

The pandemic has engineered a shift in consumer preferences toward favouring larger houses with access to green space, often outside cities. These properties typically require a larger mortgage to buy.

Martin Beck, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said: “There could be another rise in net lending in September, as buyers again race to complete before the tax cut ends.”

Gross mortgage lending remained high despite the number of mortgage approvals ticking down over the last month, dropping to 74,500 in August from 75,100 in July.

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Net of repayments, Brits took on £5.3bn in mortgage debt, following a rare net repayment of mortgage debt in July.

Credit card lending rose £200m in August, but this figure was significantly below its pre-pandemic average, according to Tom Pugh, economist at RSM UK.

“With energy price hikes, tax rises and higher fuel costs all eating into household’s disposable income, consumer spending may be about 1 per cent lower in 2022 than we had previously thought,” he said.

Households added a further £9.1bn into savings accounts, a trend that has accelerated ahead of its long term average during the pandemic as Brits saved money that would have been spent if lockdowns had not been imposed.

By Jack Barnett

Source: City AM

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House prices at record high but annual growth slows

House prices hit a record high in August but the pace of annual growth continued to slow, the latest Halifax House Price Index has revealed.

The average cost of a property now stands at £262,954, up 0.7% on July and the highest figure on record.

However, annual house price inflation slowed to 7.1%, down from 7.6% in July.

Wales remains the strongest performing area, with annual house price inflation at 11.6% and the only double-digit rise recorded in the UK during August.

The South West is also still experiencing strong growth at 9.6%, likely reflecting the ongoing demand for rural living within the region.

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Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “Given the rapid gains seen over the past 12 months, August’s rise was relatively modest and the annual rate of house price inflation continued to slow, hitting a five-month low of 7.1% (versus 7.6% in July).

“However, compared to June 2020, when the housing market began to reopen from the first lockdown, prices remain more than £23,600 higher (or +9.9%).

“Much of the impact from the stamp duty holiday has now left the market, as highlighted by the drop in industry transaction numbers compared to a year ago. However, while such government schemes have provided vital stimulus, there have also been other significant drivers of house price inflation.

“We believe structural factors have driven record levels of buyer activity – such as the demand for more space amid greater home working. These trends look set to persist and the price gains made since the start of the pandemic are unlikely to be reversed once the remaining tax break comes to an end later this month.

“Moreover, the macroeconomic environment is becoming increasingly positive, with job vacancies at a record high and consumer confidence returning to pre-pandemic levels. Coupled with a supply of properties for sale that looks increasingly tight, and barring any reimposition of lockdown measures or a significant increase in unemployment as job support schemes are unwound later this year, these factors should continue to support prices in the near-term.”

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Greater London continued to lag the rest of the country, registering just a 1.3% annual increase in prices in August and, over the latest rolling three-monthly period, was the only region or nation to record a fall in prices (-0.3%).

The year-over-year rise in London was also the weakest seen in 18 months. Though at a cost of £508,503, typical properties in the capital remain far above the national average national price.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “For all the speculation about what would happen when the stamp duty holiday ended, today’s figures look like business as usual for a jaw-dropping year for house prices.

“There’s another record for the cost of an average house, though the pace of growth is slowing month by month.

“Any increase to house prices now is fuelled by a short supply of housing stock coupled with the demand for space, as people continue to work from home and retain flexible working.

“People’s choices are reflected in the regional breakdown, with the South West and Wales seeing the biggest growth, and London lagging behind as commuters flee the rat race.

“Scarcity of properties on the market will continue to prop up prices for the foreseeable future, and we may be entering a period of stability after the rollercoaster of the past 18 months.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK house price rises accelerate in August

The housing market in England and Northern Ireland continued to grow in August, with average house prices rising by almost £5,000 as the government’s stamp duty exemption in England and Northern Ireland came to an end.

The value of the average property climbed to £248,857 – a rise of £4,628 and a monthly increase of just over 2%. This is the second highest increase in 15 years, according to Nationwide.

Experts had forecasted a slowdown in the inflation of property prices as a result of stamp duty tax breaks being eased in July. However, August saw year-on-year house price inflation rise by 11% – a 0.5% increase from the month before.

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Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner, said: “The bounceback in August is surprising because it seemed more likely that the tapering of stamp duty relief in England at the end of June would take some of the heat out of the market.”

Nationwide said that it expected property prices to continue rising in the short-term, but that activity will “almost inevitably” begin to ease when the stamp duty tax breaks end later this month.

“But even this is far from assured,” said Gardner. “The labour market has remained remarkably resilient to date and, even if it does weaken, there is scope for shifts in housing preferences as a result of the pandemic to continue to support activity for some time yet.”

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Knight Frank’s head of UK residential research, Tom Bill, said: “The housing market has clearly lost none of its core strength, and rising business confidence and rock-bottom interest rates signal a strong end to the year, even as the stamp duty holiday winds down completely.”

Lucy Pendleton, of estate agent James Pendleton, said: “This is a timely lesson that it’s the fundamentals of the market that are all-powerful still. Sunak’s generous state handout has turned out to be more a demonstration of misdirection than crisis management.

“The market didn’t need his money and, with hundreds of billions tucked away in accidental savings, Britons are continuing to satisfy a deep-seated determination to move after a traumatic 18 months.”

Source: Money Expert

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The two key factors that keep driving house prices higher

UK house prices are rising faster than at any time in the last 15 years. And it’s not just in Britain – rising property prices are a global phenomenon. John Stepek looks at what’s behind their seemingly unstoppable rise.

The gradual ending of the stamp duty holiday in the UK was expected to dampen the housing market down a little bit.

Yet, while the tax started to revert to normal levels in July, according to Nationwide, house prices rose by 2.1% during the month of August alone.

That’s one of the biggest jumps in 15 years.

So what’s going on?

Working from home has massively expanded the commuter belt

When you look at the housing market, it’s easy to get too parochial. We all know our own areas and we all think we know our own countries, so we put far too much weight on local factors and not enough on global ones.

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So all through the current boom, a lot has been made about the effect of the stamp duty holiday and how it has brought forward lots of activity, and how things would probably drop off after it was over.

The holiday for the most expensive houses (in England and Northern Ireland, that is) has already ended on 1 July. Meanwhile, an extended holiday for houses under £250,000 ends at the end of September.

So you’d expect to be starting to see the effects of that. But it doesn’t seem to be making much difference, judging by the latest house price figures, which show prices rising by 11% year-on-year in August – an acceleration, not a slowdown.

Yet it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. As we’ve said on a number of occasions, the UK’s stamp duty holiday was just one tiny factor in the current booming market. Housing markets around the world are booming, driven by two main things.

One factor is the expansion of working from home. We can natter all day about exactly how many people will end up returning to the office and for how long; we can debate what has been lost and what has been gained in the process; but one thing I think we can all agree on is this: more people will work remotely more regularly than they did before Covid-19 turned things upside down.

In housing-market terms, increased working from home means that the commuter belt is massively extended. In turn, that means people moving from expensive areas (those either in or close to London and Edinburgh, most obviously) to cheaper ones (areas which are beyond a reasonable daily commuting distance – which in the southeast, at least, I’d say is anything over about an hour and a half each way).

Again, this is not just a UK phenomenon. It’s happening all over the US, and I imagine it’s similar in Europe, though I haven’t got the figures to hand.

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The banks are now locked in a race to the bottom

The “working from home” shake-out will only carry on for so long. And it represents a rebalancing to a great extent – money moving out of urban areas and into suburban and rural areas. This is not a bad thing at all: if cities get a bit cheaper as a result, then they should get an influx of younger folk, and become a bit more innovative once again.

London-focused housebuilder Berkeley Group put out a trading update this morning. Apparently reservations are back to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, rising selling prices for houses are offsetting rising materials prices. So maybe London won’t be getting any cheaper from here.

However, there’s a second factor which is more persistent and also more important: the amount of money available to buy houses.

Interest rates are extremely low – that’s been the case for ages. People (in aggregate) have saved more money that can be used for housing deposits (the Bank of Mum and Dad might have increased its lending power even if the kids haven’t been able to save).

But the big new factor post-pandemic is that banks are finally starting to throw caution to the winds again. We are in a full-blown mortgage-price war and, as I’ve said before, it’s hard to see that changing soon. Once the banking sector gets the bit between its teeth it won’t take just one rate hike to stop it – it’ll take a few.

Remember that the Bank of England was raising interest rates all the way from August 2005 to July 2007 – right before Northern Rock collapsed. And that’s assuming that rates even rise any time soon.

Anyway – long story short, if you’re looking for a home to live in, timing the market is a waste of energy in any case. But for what it’s worth, I don’t see any reason to expect a crash imminently.

If you already own a home and particularly if you’ve got a decent chunk of equity in it – do have a look at mortgage deals. They are dropping fast. The headline-grabbing two-year fixes at below 1% do come with big arrangement fees – and aren’t always open to re-mortgaging – so don’t automatically think that they’re the best deal.

But if you’re coming to the end of a deal or you haven’t checked the market for a while, then do have a shop around, because you can almost certainly find something cheaper than what you’re on right now.

By: John Stepek

Source: Money Week

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House prices jumped by nearly £5,000 month-on-month in August

House prices recorded a “surprising” bounceback in August as the average property value leapt by nearly £5,000 in the space of a month.

Across the UK, the average house price in August was £248,857 – 11% higher than a year earlier, Nationwide Building Society said.

The average house price in August was £4,628 higher than in July, when it stood at £244,229.

Property values were up by 2.1% month-on-month in percentage terms, marking the second biggest gain over the past 15 years.

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A 2.3% monthly rise was previously recorded in April this year.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said house prices are now around 13% higher than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The bounceback in August is surprising.”

He said it had seemed more likely that the tapering of the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland from July would have taken some of the heat out of the market.

Mr Gardner suggested the strength may reflect strong demand from home buyers of properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000.

The “nil rate” stamp duty band was halved from £500,000 to £250,000 from July and will revert to £125,000 from October.

Mr Gardner continued: “Lack of supply is also likely to be a key factor behind August’s price increase, with estate agents reporting low numbers of properties on their books.”

Looking ahead, he said: “Underlying demand is likely to soften around the turn of the year if unemployment rises, as most analysts expect, when Government support schemes wind down.

“But even this is far from assured. The labour market has remained remarkably resilient to date and, even if it does weaken, there is scope for shifts in housing preferences as a result of the pandemic to continue to support activity for some time yet.”

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Mark Harris said: “Property prices are rising due to lack of stock, while cheap borrowing rates give borrowers confidence to go after the property of their dreams in the race for space.

“We heard earlier this week from the Bank of England that savings deposits have increased significantly, giving lenders even more ammunition when it comes to offering rock-bottom rates.

“As we head into autumn, we expect more of the same for now. With lenders reducing rates across loan-to-values, and not just for those with the biggest deposits, there are opportunities for first-time buyers and home movers alike.”

Gabriella Dickens said: “Mortgage rates have fallen sharply in recent weeks and have room to fall further, while high levels of job vacancies suggest that the shake-out in employment in quarter four will be limited and reversed over the following quarters.

“Accordingly, we think that house prices will pick up again in 2022, finishing the year about 4% higher than at the end of 2021.”

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “Buyers lining up transactions and seeking to benefit from a lower tax bill before the October (stamp duty holiday) deadline may have supported demand and prices in August.

“Other factors also played a role in August’s rise in prices, and these are likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

“Consumer confidence has remained high and buyers have continued to benefit from ultra-low mortgage rates.

“Meanwhile, the pandemic has had what will likely be long-lasting effects on property preferences, including raising demand for larger homes in a world of more home working.

“Combined with the fuel for property deposits provided by the substantial savings accumulated by some households during lockdowns, there are plenty of props supporting the housing market.”

He added: “The odds of a significant downturn in house prices anytime soon looks small.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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Halifax: House prices in major British cities up 8.9%

House prices in major British cities, excluding London, have grown by 8.9% since March last year, according to the Halifax House Price Index.

Areas surrounding those cities have increased by 10.8% over the same period.

Plymouth saw house price growth of 5.8% between March 2020 and June 2021, while in the surrounding areas, the average was 16.1%.

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This was driven by the likes of South Hams – home to Salcombe, Britain’s most expensive seaside town – which at 26.3% has seen high house price increases during the pandemic.

In Leicester, house prices grew by 6.5% over the same period, compared to a rise of 12.1% on average in the surrounding area, with Rutland and Melton up by 22.5%.

However, in Newcastle property price increases in the city itself (6.5%) have continued to outstrip those in the surrounding areas (4.0%).

North Tyneside was one of the few areas surrounding major British cities to record a fall in average house prices during the pandemic (5%).

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Andrew Asaam, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on the housing market right across the country.

“This has been shaped by buyers’ demand for more space, a desire to move from the centre to more suburban locations, and the trend for more home working both now and in the future.

“It’s clear from speaking to our mortgage customers that many have prioritised space over location as a result of more time spent at home over the last year and a half.

“As consumers look for value in the market, that inevitably leads people to look further afield from major city centres, where you tend to get more property for your money.

“We’ve seen evidence of this in areas right across Britain, with house price growth in the vast majority of cities now being outstripped by increases in their surrounding areas.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Suburbs see record 11% house price rise during pandemic

House prices in the UK suburbs have grown at record rates, according to new research, with city dwellers helping to drive the spike as they hunt for more space.

An analysis of mortgage transactions included in the Halifax House Price Index between March 2020 and June 2021 revealed that house prices in major British cities (excluding London) grew by an average of 8.9 per cent.

However, in the areas surrounding those cities, average house price growth was much higher at 10.8 per cent, turning the traditional trends on their head.

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Drilling into details, researchers found that the picture varied significantly in individual cities across the country.

In Plymouth, on England’s South West coast, the city itself saw house price growth of 5.8 per cent between March 2020 and June 2021, while in the surrounding areas, the average was 16.1 per cent.

This was driven by the likes of South Hams – home to Salcombe, Britain’s most expensive seaside town – which at 26.3 per cent has seen exceptional house price increases during the pandemic.

Meanwhile in Leicester, house prices in the city grew by 6.5 per cent over the same period, compared to a rise of 12.1 per cent on average in the surrounding area, with Rutland and Melton up by 22.5 per cent.

However, further north it was a different story. In Newcastle, property price increases in the city itself (+6.5 per cent) continued to outstrip those in the surrounding areas (+4 per cent).

North Tyneside was one of the few areas surrounding major British cities to record a fall in average house prices during the pandemic (-5.0 per cent).

Commenting on the findings Andrew Asaam, mortgages director at Halifax, said: ‘The pandemic has had a huge impact on the housing market right across the country.

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‘This has been shaped by buyers’ demand for more space, a desire to move from the centre to more suburban locations, and the trend for more home working both now and in the future.

‘It’s clear from speaking to our mortgage customers that many have prioritised space over location as a result of more time spent at home over the last year and a half.

‘As consumers look for value in the market, that inevitably leads people to look further afield from major city centres, where you tend to get more property for your money.’

Analysts said another contributor to the trend was the stamp duty holiday, as people looked to buy larger, family-sized homes with the tax threshold raised to £500,000.

Overall, the Office for National Statistics recently revealed that the average house price across the UK had increased by 13.2 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021, from £234,668 to £265,668.

By SADIE WHITELOCKS

Source: This is Money

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House prices up 13.2% in year to June

Average house prices in the UK have risen by 13.2% in the year to June 2021, the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since November 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) House Price Index.

Average prices reached a record high of £266,000 in June 2021, £31,000 higher than the same time last year.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £284,000 (13.3%), in Wales to £195,000 (16.7%), in Scotland to £174,000 (12.0%) and in Northern Ireland to £153,000 (9.0%).

London continued to be the region with the lowest annual growth (6.3%) for the seventh consecutive month.

London’s average house prices remain the most expensive of any region in the UK at an average of £510,000 in June 2021.

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The North West was the region with the highest annual house price growth, with average prices increasing by 18.6% in the year to June 2021. This was up from 14.2% in May 2021.

The North East continued to have the lowest average house price at £150,000.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Once again the North West leads the charge, with price growth of 18.6% in the year to June, while London property prices lag with a 6.3% increase over the same period.

“This reinforces what we have been seeing for some time – the race for space means buyers’ money is going further outside the capital, inevitably pushing up prices.

“Borrowing rates remain incredibly low, with NatWest the latest lender to launch a sub-1% 5-year fix this week.

“Even though property prices continue to rise for now, it means that dream home is more affordable than it might otherwise have been.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “This most comprehensive of all the housing market surveys confirms the rush to beat the beginning of the stamp duty taper, which we were seeing in our offices up to the end of June.

“However, the report is a little dated so it doesn’t show that the predicted price correction immediately afterwards failed to materialise.

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“There are fewer but more serious enquiries now with most potential buyers displaying a steely determination to proceed, with existing transactions rarely renegotiated or failing to complete.”

Sam Mitchell, chief executive of Strike, said: “House prices continued on their upwards trajectory in June, with the latest ONS figures capturing the final frenzy amongst buyers and sellers before the stamp duty holiday scaled back.

“Despite the tax break now only being available to properties under £250,000, there are still other factors at play that will likely contribute to further house price increases in the months ahead.

“Historically low interest rates, an uplift in 95% mortgages and savings accumulated during lockdowns are all going to allow more people to enter the market.

“Let’s also not forget that the UK is still faced with a major supply and demand imbalance issue.

“A lack of new stock that fails to meet the demand we see today is enough on its own to push prices up.

“Particularly when we all appear to be looking for the same thing – a desire for more space, bigger gardens, and that now essential home office.”

Hugh Gibbs, co-founder of SearchLand, added: “House prices always consume a lot of attention in the UK, and that is particularly true right now, with homebuyers, investors and developers eagerly waiting to see the impact of the first stamp duty holiday deadline.

“Clearly, the ONS data shows us that even in the build-up to the deadline on 30 June, house price growth continued its rapid march upwards – although this is a trend that is unlikely to have continued into July and August.

“The statistics underline that the stamp duty holiday has more than achieved its goals; it has incentivised a huge amount of transactional activity and fuelled growth across the property sector.

“And, while the remarkable surge in property values over the past 14 months will eventually come to an end, the predictions of a sudden market crash this summer have certainly not come to fruition.

“Make no mistake, the market remains highly competitive even as the stamp duty holiday tapers down, with desirable properties and land still attracting a great deal of attention from prospective buyers. Do not expect this to change any time soon.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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