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Residential transaction numbers grow 20% in August: HMRC

Government figures show that, totalling 98,000, residential transactions in the UK during August 2021 were 20.8% higher than in August 2020.

On a monthly basis, transactions of this type increased by 32%, the data adds.

It also shows that non-residential transactions, at 10,250, grew by 28.2% on a yearly basis in August – 5.8% when measured monthly.

This comes after HMRC reported transaction numbers slipping by almost 63% on a monthly basis in July.

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John Phillips says: “Property transactions are returning to a more recognisable level.

“The peaks and troughs of the past few months have been more erratic than in the past, but these should begin to level out as we move away from the stamp duty holiday.

“One thing that the latest data proves is that the tax savings were not the sole driving force behind the vast majority of moves.”

He adds: “Despite the end to furlough in a few weeks, vacancies have exceeded 1m for the first-time, so there are jobs out there, and the number of buyers is unlikely to fall significantly.

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“Confidence in the economy is growing and people are now switching jobs, so this may test lenders criteria on probationary periods, but it is unlikely to be a significant blocker for many.”

And Anna Clare Harper looks abroad in her commentary: “The Evergrande crisis highlights how over-leveraging can bring investors and homeowners down. Regardless of transactions data, prices can go down as well as up. A big cause of this is lending; just because you can borrow to acquire property with low deposits, it doesn’t mean you should. Buyers must remember that both capital and interest repayments must be paid.

“The good news for UK house buyers lies in a key difference between the Chinese property market and the UK property market: supply constraints. In the UK, we suffer an ongoing shortage of housing stock, which in turn means prices are expected to continue to grow.

“For this reason, although Evergrande is terrifying, and UK transactions rising and falling by 32% in a month seems volatile, the UK market is likely to remain more measured in its fluctuations,” Harper concludes.

By Gary Adams

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Residential transactions up 219% annually in June

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in June 2021 was 198,240, 219.1% higher than June 2020, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

On a monthly basis, this figure was up 74.1%.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in June 2021 was 10,850, 58.7% higher than June 2020 and 6.8% higher than May 2021.

Looking to the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions, this was noted at 213,120, 216.1% higher than June 2020 and 108.5% higher than May 2021.

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The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in June 2021 is 11,610, 61.1% higher than June 2020 and 30.3% higher than May 2021.

Further to this, the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate for UK residential transactions in June 2021 of 213,120 was the highest monthly UK total since the introduction of these statistics in April 2005.

Tomer Aboody said: “Looking at the highest levels of transactions since 2005, when data was first captured, the second quarter has seen properties flying off the shelves as buyers pay premium prices due to the lack of supply.

“But with mortgage interest rates at record lows, and some at sub 1%, borrowers are realising this is the opportune moment to stretch themselves in order to buy their dream home.

“This trend is likely to continue for a while yet, while money remains cheap, resulting in prices rising further due to lack of supply.

“Will the Chancellor look at possibly reformatting stamp duty so that downsizers don’t have to pay it or face a significant reduction?

“This would have the desired result of more properties coming to market, keeping a lid on prices while further boosting the wider economy.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “As always, it is transactions rather than the more volatile prices which are a better measure of housing market health.

“These figures clearly illustrate the frenzied rush to the finishing line for buyers to take advantage before the stamp duty holiday drew to a close.

“However, activity has reduced since, particularly in London where the savings were greatest.

“Early signs are that sales will be down significantly but we have noticed nearly all of our transactions are continuing with very few renegotiations.

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“This leads us to believe prices will not be markedly different over the next few months.”

Conor Murphy said: “The end of June brought closure to the first phase of the stamp duty holiday and one of the busiest periods ever witnessed by the property market.

“Today’s fantastic findings are testament to the success of the scheme in sparking further interest in an already busy market and positioning the industry as a key driver in the UK’s economic recovery.

“We have championed the stamp duty holiday as ‘the great equaliser’ since its introduction in July 2020 and will continue to do so long after its conclusion in two months’ time.

“The tax break has reduced the amount of upfront capital needed to get on the property ladder, made homeownership a more viable goal for thousands and provided a much-needed form of economic relief in a period where finances are increasingly strained.

“However, with brokers, conveyancers and lenders all juggling sky-high demand, it’s important that advisors manage client expectations and assess how mortgage tech can be used to streamline transactions before the holiday draws to an end in just 10 weeks’ time.

“Mortgage tech can act as an additional team member if used correctly.

“There’s no better time than today to see how features like one-click DIPs, task automation and digital ID verification can remove the legwork in your business, leaving you with more time to focus on what truly matters: providing clients with expert advice.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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The UK Residential Property Market’s First £100 Billion Summer?

The forecast, which takes the current trajectory of the housing market and applies it to the rest of summer months, estimates that there will be 420,000 sales in the UK across June, July and August at a total spend of a record £107bn. This will make this summer the highest grossing quarter in UK residential property market history, and is in stark contrast to previous years. Throughout the past half decade, total spend from buyers during the summer months has averaged £69bn-per-year, a figure that comprised of a little over 300,000 sales.

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Speaking on the forecast, Nick Whitten, head of UK living research, said: “It is well-documented that the Summer is the best time to sell a home, with sentiment receiving a natural positive boost from the warmer weather. However, our data suggests that this post-lockdown summer will set a new record. The reasons behind the buying bonanza – with the most exchanges and highest total sales value on record – are threefold. The stamp duty extension to the end of June means that during the quarter eager buyers and sellers will look to force a deal through. This, combined with the increased financial stability many buyers are feeling as we unlock from Coronavirus, and the well-documented supply constraints in the UK market, means we can expect to see demand swallowing up available stock, pushing up prices but not to the extent that it will affect transactions.”

The Government has set a clear priority to help more people onto the housing ladder through its Own Your Home campaign. The campaign puts the spotlight on six Government-backed support schemes to allow people to access some form of home ownership.

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The forecasted spike in activity this Summer will be particularly evident in the north of England, which is predicted to see circa 100,000 sales – around 25 per cent of the total UK.

Stephen Hogg, head of north west and residential UK regions, said: “We have seen the market steadily improve and are fully expecting a further acceleration throughout the Summer. “North-shoring” is a trend we have seen pre-COVID but even more during and post-COVID with purchasers seeing better value for money in the north. Regional towns and cities continue to be voted the best places to live in the UK with less congestion and some of the best schooling. The regional cities are bouncing back quicker, HS2 offers further medium to long term growth prospects coupled with the Government’s levelling up agenda. Flex working is becoming the norm and therefore the need to live close to the Capital is diminishing. The historical brain drain of regional centres seeking high skilled high paid jobs in London is a thing of the past. With the likes of Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh offering opportunities equal to or not available in London they are now attracting a vast talent pool who in turn are boosting the local housing markets.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Residential transactions up 138% in year to May

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in May 2021 was 114,940, 138.2% higher than May 2020, according to HMRC.

However, this is 3.9% lower than April 2021.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in May 2021 was 10,900, up 87.5% annually and 8.7% higher on a monthly basis.

Looking to the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in May 2021, this figure was 103,100, up 123.4% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, this figure had fallen by 8.7% between April and May 2021.

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The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in May 2021 was 9,560, 80.1% higher than May 2020 and 7.8% lower than April 2021.

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of 392,860 for UK residential transactions during Q1 of the 2021 calendar year is the highest Q1 total since the introduction of stamp duty statistics in their current format from 2005.

As well as this, it is the highest quarterly total since 2006 Q2, at 419,270.

Steve Seal said: “It’s encouraging to see that the number of property transactions has remained at a healthy level as the market continues to recover.

“House prices are now experiencing a substantial boom, with the stamp duty holiday and demand for remote-work-appropriate properties both helping to fuel the market’s rebound.

“Rising house prices have, however, been detrimental to first time buyers, pushing their homeownership aspirations even further out of reach.

“Many younger borrowers have also experienced a financial setback during the crisis, which has only compounded the problem.

“As a result, demand for specialist mortgages is expected to rise among this cohort when they consider the lending options available to them.

“The specialist market must prepare for this increase, and lenders and advisers will need to work together to capitalise on the opportunities coming their way.”

Guy Gittins added: “May continued the exceptional transaction volume we have seen throughout the entire year with three times more buyers than usual.

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“Viewings have been at a five-year high for the past three months. This has led to competitive bidding but with supply meeting demand, large price increases have been kept at bay.”

Gareth Lewis said: “The busiest May since 2007 is partly down to the lack of transactions last year, thanks to the pandemic, and the stimulus that the stamp duty holiday is giving the market.

“It is too early to say whether sentiment is such that we are now on a continuous upwards trend or it is a blip.

“However, on the positive side, people are looking to transact and are buying property. Even though there are still numerous people on furlough and many sectors are not working as they should, there is still confidence there.

“Until we get out of the other side of all this, and don’t have the stamp duty holiday and other stimulus, we won’t know exactly where we sit. Only time will tell if the market falls off a cliff.

“At some point, the government needs to think longer term and address issues such as the lack of affordable housing.

“This has been pushed down the line by COVID and we are not likely to see anything until next year at the earliest.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Residential property market steadies at elevated levels the latest data showed

The UK residential property market steadied in the past week, remaining at significantly elevated levels overall with new vendor enquires holding flat at 26% above average, while buyers dipped 6% to help partially redress the significant demand/supply imbalance, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.

Landlords recovered some of their recent losses, bouncing back 8% to end the week 7% below average, but this was swiftly offset by an equivalent rise in new tenant enquiries. However, traffic to own-branded estate agent websites remained some 31% above average and the volumes of new leads generated via live chat overall was up by more than a third compared to pre-Covid data, to show that the extraordinary shift to digital seen over the past year is likely here to stay.

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Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a two million chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 13 June 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 55 million unique website visits back to January 2019.

“Estate agents are facing the tightest new instruction crunch in many years, with buyers scrapping for well-priced properties, but this is set to inevitably slow as the stamp duty holiday starts to be wound and people turning their attention to the summer,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder.

“The sun has finally started to shine, there is the Euro 2020 football tournament underway and Wimbledon just round the corner so it is natural that peoples’ attention is shifting away from being hunkered down inside under lockdown and the evidence we have is that in property and numerous other sectors website traffic, and consequently new enquiry volumes, are dropping,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder.

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The YPST methodology establishes a base line average shown as 100% or 100, calculated according to average engagement values over the 62 weeks prior to the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020, and plots movements from there according to the volumes of people engaging in live chat, their stated needs, questions asked, and new business leads generated. Data is measured over full 24-hour periods.

New vendors rose 0.18%, or 0.23 points, to end the week on 125.82, some 26% above the average, 27% below the same week last year during the initial lockdown, and 21% above the equivalent week 2019.

Buyers dropped 6.47%, or 8.98 points, to close at 129.81, 30% above the pre-covid-19 average, 30% below the same week 2020 and 23% higher than the equivalent week 2019 before coronavirus hit.

Landlords recovered by 8.23%, or 7.04 points, to 92.59, some 7% below the average, 36% lower than the same week last year, and 3% below the same week 2019.

Tenants rose 8.40%, or 10.51 points, to close at 135.57 some 36% above the pre-covid-19 average, 21% lower than the same week last year, but 10% above the same week 2019.

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Value of UK Mortgages Climbs 3.6% Between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021

The outstanding value of all residential mortgage loans in the UK stood 3.6 per cent higher at the end of Q1 2021 than at the same point the year before, according to new Bank of England figures.

The figures, released yesterday, also showed that the value of new mortgage commitments was 15 per cent higher than in the same quarter the year before.

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However, the value of outstanding balances with some arrears increased by 5.1 per cent over the quarter to £15 billion, and now accounts for 0.96 per cent of outstanding mortgage balances.

Commenting on the figures, Paul Stockwell, chief commercial offer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “Buyers’ insatiable appetite to move home has meant the value of new mortgages started the year at highs not seen since before the 2008/09 financial crash. There has been frenzied activity in the market with movers searching for larger homes and more outdoor space, while the extension of the stamp duty discount to the end of June added more fuel to the fire in the first quarter of this year.”

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He added: “The biggest stamp duty savings run out in just a few weeks’ time, yet measures from other housing indices suggest the frantic competition for property continues unabated. While lending may fall from these current highs, we still expect it to be an incredibly busy summer for the housing market.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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BoE: Outstanding value of residential loans up 3.6%

The outstanding value of all residential mortgage loans was £1,561.8bn at the end of 2021 Q1, 3.6 % higher than a year earlier, according to the Bank of England’s (BoE) mortgage lending statistics.

The value of gross mortgage advances in 2021 Q1 was £83.3bn, 26.5% higher than in 2020 Q1, and the highest level since 2007 Q4, while the value of new mortgage commitments was 15% higher than a year earlier, at £77.5bn.

Meanwhile, the share of gross advances with interest rates less than 2% above bank rate was 59.1% in 2021 Q1, 13.3% lower than a year ago.

The share of mortgages advanced in 2021 Q1 with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios exceeding 90% was 1.1%, 4.1% lower than a year earlier, and the lowest level since these statistics began in 2007.

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The share for house purchase for owner occupation was noted at 64.1%, a rise of 17.3% on 2020 Q1.

The share of gross advances for remortgages for owner occupation was 18.0%, a decrease of 14.2% since 2020 Q1, and the lowest since these statistics began in 2007.

The value of outstanding balances with some arrears increased by 5.1% over the quarter to £15bn, and now accounts for 0.96% of outstanding mortgage balances.

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “Buyers’ insatiable appetite to move home has meant the value of new mortgages started the year at highs not seen since before the 2008/09 financial crash.

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“There has been frenzied activity in the market with movers searching for larger homes and more outdoor space, while the extension of the stamp duty discount to the end of June added more fuel to the fire in the first quarter of this year.

“The biggest stamp duty savings run out in just a few weeks’ time, yet measures from other housing indices suggest the frantic competition for property continues unabated.

“While lending may fall from these current highs, we still expect it to be an incredibly busy summer for the housing market.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House purchase lending surged in Q1, according to UK Finance

House purchase lending surged in Q1, following the rush of applications submitted ahead of the original Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday deadline, according to the Q1 UK Finance Review.

Home mover activity was particularly strong, with anecdotal evidence of many homeowners using their substantial existing equity stakes to move to larger properties away from city centres in response to changing working and living patterns.

Refinancing continued to be dominated by internal product transfers; however, there is a continued trend of significant and growing amounts of equity withdrawn with other remortgages, in large part to fund additional property purchases.

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UK Finance noted that payment deferrals and government support for jobs and incomes kept arrears increases in check in Q1 2021, while the ban on court actions meant there were no enforced possessions for the fourth consecutive quarter.

From Q2, as support schemes wind down and possessions resume, UK Finance said it is likely arrears will rise above their current level and, after a lag, possessions are expected to rise as well.

Credit card borrowing fell due to additional national lockdowns and post-Christmas seasonality, but showed signs of recovery towards the end of the quarter, according to the review.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Since the housing market emerged from its shutdown last spring, we have seen a remarkable recovery in demand, which continued through Q1 2021.

“Existing homeowners have taken advantage of the stamp duty concessions, with changing working and living patterns encouraging more to use their existing equity, either to move further afield or to fund further housing purchases for themselves or family.

“Towards the end of the quarter, cautious optimism was also evident through modest increases in card spending and in unsecured borrowing.

“The continuing support network for household incomes and credit payments has prevented significant increases in arrears.

“As the country emerges from lockdown and these schemes come to a close, most will be able to resume normal payments.

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“However, for those unable to do this, the industry stands ready to help with tailored support to best suit individual customers’ needs.”

John Eastgate, managing director of property finance at Shawbrook Bank, added: “A strong Q1 was inevitable.

“Minds should and will turn to the period beyond the artificial boom created by the stamp duty holiday.

“Notwithstanding some inflationary pressures, the cost of borrowing looks likely to stay low and with a fast recovering economy, the outlook for the property market remains robust.

“That underpins buyer confidence which, combined with a likely long-term shift in commuter behaviours, has seen borrowers stretch themselves for that forever home with some green space and a different work-life balance.”

Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution, Aldermore, said: “Through successive lockdowns, we’ve seen an unprecedented reassessment by home owners of what they want from a home.

“The change in working and living situations over the past year and likely for the long-term has ignited demand to find property that fits people’s new working and family life, which has led to this house purchase lending surge in Q1.

“Mortgage lenders have thrived the past year through tremendous efforts to meet the adversity of the moment.

“We’ve seen some genuine long-term industry innovation through necessity of social distancing and maintained a steady stream of new business despite unstable conditions, alongside significant existing customer care and engagement.

“This collective work has put the market in a good place for recovery in the months going forward and, with pent-up demand, the stamp duty relief, and the reintroduction of products, we might even say we’re quietly optimistic for a busy second half to 2021.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Housing market shows ‘no signs of cooling off’

Residential property prices look set to continue rising this year beyond the stamp duty holiday, as lifestyle changes continue to fuel market demand.

House prices increased by 10.9% annually in May, marking the strongest growth in almost seven years, according to Nationwide’s house price index.

The double-digit house price growth recorded last month followed a 7.1% annual rise in April, the figures show.

Across the UK, property values hit a new record average of £242,832 – up by £23,930 compared with 12 months earlier.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, said: “Contrary to the British weather, the UK property market was red-hot in May and house prices showed no signs of cooling.

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“The fast approaching stamp duty holiday deadline has helped turn the market into a frenzy, but there are other factors at play here. A sense of normality is returning as restrictions lift and the vaccination roll out progresses, while we’ve also seen a major uplift in the 95% mortgage offering which has helped more first-time buyers come to the market.

“Many will be questioning if this level of demand will last once the stamp duty holiday begins to taper off, but let’s not forget that the UK is still faced with a major supply and demand imbalance issue. A lack of new stock, particularly houses with outside space and in rural locations, will continue to push prices up by being outweighed by demand. Plus, the Government may well have something else up its sleeve to support the market once the stamp duty holiday ends.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, concurred: “At a time when much of the country seems to be enjoying a sense of normality once again, we would expect the property market to follow suit. But he says that the figures show that the market didn’t get the memo.”

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He added: “The frenzy to snap up a property at the tail end of a pandemic is showing no signs of stopping, with double digit growth in house prices throughout May – the highest we have seen in the best part of a decade.

“The success of the stamp duty holiday has certainly played its part, as well as the savings many have made while working from home.”

But Lucy Pendleton, head of James Pendleton estate agents, is among those that expects price growth to slow.

She said: “Such fierce appreciation is certainly attention grabbing, but when property hits double-digit growth like this, it’s normally a brief squint at the sun before falling back down to Earth.

“That will probably happen in July due to the effects of a two-month interruption of house price growth last year.”

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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HMRC: April resi transactions highest for that month since 2007

HMRC’s provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate for UK residential transactions in April 2021 was 111,260, the highest total in April since 2007, when transactions were 126,450.
However, this is a drop from the March 2021 figure of 190,980.

Provisional non-seasonally adjusted UK residential transactions in April 2021 increased 197.8% year-on-year, but a substantial amount of this difference is due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the April 2020 statistics.

In addition, the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of 392,170 for UK residential transactions during quarter one of 2021 was the highest Q1 total since the introduction of stamp duty statistics in their current format in 2005, and the highest quarterly total since Q2 2006 (419,270).

Due to the pandemic, quarter two of 2020 was the lowest quarterly total for UK residential transactions since Q1 2009.

Provisional estimates of UK residential transactions in April 2021 have shown an impact from the temporarily increased nil rate bands for stamp duty and and Land Transaction Tax (LTT).

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Following year-on-year decreases in April and May 2020 of around 50%, caused by the pandemic, non-seasonally adjusted UK residential transactions have gradually increased, peaking in March 2021 with a provisional estimate of 173,410.

For non-residential transactions, non-seasonally figures in April 2021 increased 94.4% year-on-year, but again this will largely be due to the effects of the pandemic on last year’s data.

Provisional estimates of UK non-residential transactions in April 2021, 10,520 non-seasonally adjusted and 10,160 seasonally adjusted, are similar to levels reported during April in recent years, excluding 2020.

Following yearly decreases in April and May 2020 of around 45% caused by economic effects around the pandemic, non-residential transactions have followed a generally increasing trend during subsequent months.

Joshua Elash said: “Transactions are significantly down from March due to a large number of purchases completing that month in anticipation of the stamp duty holiday expiring.

“It evidences how significant an impact the scheme is having on buyer appetite and confidence.

“April was always going to be softer in terms of number of transactions.

“The annual rebound has, however, been stunning.

“A year ago, the first lockdown bit into the property market hard, and this comeback is nothing short of astonishing.

“All in all, the data continues to support a growing argument that stamp duty should be abolished completely so as to continue to encourage transactions, upward mobility, and to support the economy.”

Mark Harris said: “April’s dip in transactions compared with March is likely to be at least partly due to the anticipated end of the stamp duty holiday, before its extension was announced, which resulted in buyers taking their foot off the gas to get deals done.

“Now that the holiday has been extended, activity has picked up again.

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“Compared with April last year, when the housing market was closed to business thanks to the pandemic, there has been a massive 179.5% jump in transactions.

“That reflects the grinding to a halt of the market, as well as the surge in demand created by COVID, with more people bringing forward moves to the country and a growing desire for more space, both inside and out.

“On the lending front, lenders have plenty of cash and are keen to lend.

“There are some very competitive products, and with Nationwide returning to 95% LTV mortgages at lower rates than its competitors, it is a good time to borrow.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “Although these figures reflect many sales agreed several months ago, they show a reduction in activity as many buyers did not expect to still take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

“However, activity has picked up strongly since the deadline was extended, allowing many to continue where they left off, as well as encourage new entrants to the market.

“Transactions are always a better measure of housing market strength than prices which tend to fluctuate.

“On the ground, supply is still a problem even though listings have improved as rollout of the second jab in particular is encouraging sellers to make their properties available.

“It is not only some sellers who are trying to profit from the home buying frenzy but certain solicitors are charging exorbitant fees to take on work, whereas others are working evenings and weekends to make sure they get over the line in time.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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