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Residential transactions up 4.2% year-on-year

Residential property transactions in July 2021 were 4.2% higher, at 73,740, than in July 2020, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

However, HMRC found that this figure was 62.8% lower than in June 2021.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in July 2021 was 9,760, 21% higher than July 2020 and 5.9% lower than June 2021.

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Looking to the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in July 2021, this figure was noted at 82,110, 1.8% higher than July 2020 and 61.5% lower than June 2021.

The HMRC provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in July 2021 was 9,730, 15.2% higher than July 2020 and 12.2% lower than June 2021.

Mark Harris said: “The stamp duty holiday focused the minds of many buyers who were already keen to move and improve their living conditions by acquiring more space both inside and out.

“Cheap mortgages have also played a significant part in the uptick in transactions and will continue to do so going forwards, even as the stamp duty holiday tapers off.

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“Mortgage pricing continues to trend downwards, with a growing number of sub-1% products.

“But it is not just the deposit-rich who are benefiting from cheaper rates – those borrowing at higher loan-to-values are also seeing rates fall, with even 95% LTV deals now to be had at sub-3%.’

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential agent, added: “These figures for the period just after the withdrawal of the full stamp duty holiday are perhaps better-than-expected although reflect what we have been seeing – that buyers were still keen to proceed with their purchases, even though they were saving less than they would have done before the end of June.

“The figures clearly illustrate how many people brought forward buying decisions to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

“The market is definitely calmer now but many are taking advantage of staycations to keep in touch with market activity, with listings slowly beginning to rise again as prospective sellers return from holiday.”

Clare Beardmore said: “It’s hard to predict with complete certainty what will happen to the housing market after the government’s stamp duty holiday finishes this month.

“Most expect the numbers of people looking to buy and sell a home will reduce, but that house prices will continue to grow steadily due to an overall lack of housing supply and continued interest from property investors and other groups, such as first-time buyers.

“What has become clear is that record demand for homes has significantly increased property values in many areas of the country, making it harder to step onto the ladder, or buy the same size home as this time last year for an equal amount of money.

“That being said, one of the best ways to manage the cost of buying or owning a home is by getting a great mortgage deal.

“Mortgage repayments are normally the biggest regular expense a person will have, so locking in a better rate could effectively mean giving yourself a pay rise, if it results in hundreds of pounds saved each month.

“Speaking with an independent adviser is a great place to start when on the hunt for a mortgage, as it will often mean accessing a much larger range of options and potentially finding a deal which is better suited to your individual financial needs.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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HMRC: Residential transactions up 9% in Q2

Residential property transactions in Q2 2021 were 9% higher than in Q1, and 175% higher than in Q2 2020, according to the HMRC Q2 Stamp Duty Statistics.

The HMRC data also found that non-residential property transactions in Q2 2021 were 12% higher than in Q1, and 79% higher than in Q2 2020.

Total Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) receipts in Q2 2021 were 12% higher than in Q1 2021, and total SDLT receipts in Q2 2021 were 92% higher to those in Q2 2020.

Residential property receipts in Q2 2021 were 12% higher than Q1 2021, and 90% higher than Q2 2020 and non-residential property receipts in Q2 2021 were 11% higher than in Q1 2021.

The 2% surcharge on the purchase of properties by non-residents was introduced on 1 April, to date this has resulted in 2,700 transactions paying £19m.

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HMRC said the increase in residential transactions in the last four quarters was impacted by the introduction of the SDLT holiday for residential properties and an ongoing strength in the housing market.

Looking to First Time Buyers Relief, up to Q2 2020 there were 540,900 claims that benefited from that relief, and the total amount relieved by these claims was £1.2bn over the period.

An estimated 84,700 transactions were liable to higher rates for additional dwellings (HRAD) in Q2 2021, with the 3% element generating £485m in receipts, a decrease of 70% from the previous quarter, and a rise of 125% compared to Q2 2020.

Conor Murphy, chief executive at Smartr365, said: “The stamp duty holiday lit up what was an already heated property market and today’s encouraging findings reinforce just how instrumental this initiative has been in creating the ‘busiest H1 on record’.

“The stamp duty holiday has positioned the property market as a key driver in the UK’s economic recovery and thankfully enabled many in the industry to retain their jobs.

“Most remarkably, the break has created a golden opportunity for both first-time buyers and second-steppers to move onto or up the property ladder, when they otherwise would not have had the financial means to do so.

“However, with just eight weeks until the tax break draws to a close, the government should now plan how it will support buyers in its wake. Permanent reductions to stamp duty will help ensure homeownership remains an accessible venture and that the market retains its buoyancy come the end of September.

“It is crucial that this period of greater accessibility and heightened demand is not just a flash in the pan.”

Stuart Wilson added: “The stamp duty holiday has helped propel an already buoyant property market even further as the sector records one of its busiest periods ever.

“Today’s figures highlight the rush among prospective homeowners to meet the initial tax holiday deadline at the end of June.

“While much of the focus has been on the benefits of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers and second steppers, older borrowers have also been using this opportunity to find their forever home.

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“We have seen the proportion of over-55s using equity release to fund property purchases triple from 5% to 15% since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“However, the clock is now ticking with just eight weeks to go before the tapered holiday ends.

“A buyer purchasing the average property used for equity release can stand to save £3,000, but with advisers, lenders and conveyances continuing to face delays, it’s vital to not only work closely together but also to manage client expectations.

“Advisers must also ensure the process is as smooth as possible by working with their clients to prepare all the documentation required from the outset, while as much as 20 working days or more can be saved when clients engage with a specialist equity release solicitor.”

Cloe Atkinson said: “Today’s figures show how the stamp duty holiday successfully boosted demand from buyers right up until the final deadline.

“The high levels of activity the housing market has been able to sustain since the market reopened in 2020, despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, show the success of this policy and are also testament to how adaptable and innovative the property industry can be.

“There is, however, still more work to be done. While the tax break boosted the number of house sales, a lot of the savings for buyers were swallowed up by soaring house prices.

“As the tax holiday comes to an end and prices continue to rise, it’s more important than ever that the industry to addresses issues around affordability and accessibility, particularly for those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

“Investing in the right technology now is going to be crucial to the future of the market.

“Innovation like open banking has the power to make the mortgage application process more accessible, especially for borrowers with more complex financial histories.

“At the same time innovation in this area will also allow for faster and more efficient lending decisions.

“The industry has come a long way since the market re-opened last year, it’s vital that it sustains this momentum and doesn’t settle for a return to the status quo.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House prices set to continue rising as supply shrinks

Residential house prices will increase by 9% this year as the market is driven by the extended stamp duty holiday and the impact of repeated lockdowns, Savills has predicted.

The estate agent has upgraded its expectations from the 4% annual price growth it predicted in March, prior to the chancellor’s stamp duty holiday extension.

Savills still expect property values to rise by 21.5% over the next five years, in line with previous forecasts, as price inflation eases following the removal of incentives.

Price growth continues to be fuelled by historic low mortgage rates, along with greater demand from buyers for properties with more space and greenery following months of lockdowns.

However, the company says that the shape of growth over the next four years is more difficult to forecast precisely given the extraordinary conditions of the past 18 months.

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“Some of the growth generated by the extraordinary market conditions of 2020 and 2021 could unwind at times during 2022, but we see nothing on the horizon that would trigger a major house price correction,” said Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research.

Savills mainstream house price forecasts and economic assumptions:

202120222023202420255yr Total
UK9.0%3.5%3.0%2.5%2.0%21.5%
London7.0%2.0%1.5%1.0%0.5%12.4%
Base rate0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.5%
Unemployment (UK)6.0%4.6%4.0%3.7%3.6%
Annual Income Growth (UK)0.8%0.0%4.1%3.9%3.8%17.2%
Source: Savills, Oxford Economics

Cook continued “New buyer demand continues to outweigh supply despite the potential stamp duty saving falling from £15,000 at June 30 to just £2,500 until the end of September, and this against low levels of supply.

“This imbalance looks set to continue,  underpinning further price growth over the near term, particularly as people look to lock into current low interest rates.  But such strong growth in 2021 will leave less capacity for growth over the next few years, particularly as interest rates are expected to rise a little earlier than leading commentators had previously projected.

“The rate at which interest rates rise will also shape price growth. A steeper than anticipated jump in rates would restrict growth, although it would have to be severe to lead to actual falls in values – an outside risk in our view.”

Interest rate rises are critical to the forecasts, Savills says. The forecasts assume a Bank of England base rate no higher than 0.5% by the end of 2025.

A number of other key factors point to what Cook describes as a ‘soft landing’ for the market, rather than any dramatic correction in property values. 

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Since the market reopened last year, price growth has been driven in large part by more affluent buyers, less reliant on mortgage debt and able to lock into low fixed interest rates. More generally, the pace of economic recovery has helped reduce unemployment levels, stress testing of lending is now embedded in the system, while interest rate rises are still expected to be slow and modest by the end of 2025, meaning a gradual squeeze on affordability.

These factors underpin Savills five-year forecasts, but they also indicate limited capacity for further price growth at the end of this period, without substantially affecting who is able to buy and the number of potential transactions. 

First-time buyers are likely to be increasingly reliant on government schemes and, where available, on the generosity of the bank of mum and dad, according to Savills. 

After a strong start to the year, and over 200,000 transactions in June alone, transaction volumes are projected to total 1.62m this, more than a third – 35% – higher than the yearly average over the five years pre-pandemic.

Savills continues to expect the markets of the Midlands and the North of England to show the strongest house price growth, due to greater capacity for growth before hitting affordability ceilings.  In the short term, however, buyer attention is expected to turn back towards urban markets, including London, as social distancing restrictions and international travel restrictions ease.

This will see the ratio of regional to UK average values slowly converge over the next five years, as the lower value regions see stronger growth, “catching up” with the rest of the country.

 202120222023202420255 years to 2025Av value* Dec 2020Forecast value end 2025
UK9.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%21.50%£230,920£280,568
North West10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£176,925£226,464
Yorkshire & The Humber10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£172,326£220,577
Wales10.00%4.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%26.80%£169,846£215,365
Scotland9.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%24.40%£156,768£195,019
North East8.00%4.00%3.50%3.50%3.00%23.90%£137,531£170,401
East Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£200,951£248,978
West Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£207,603£257,220
South West8.50%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%20.90%£264,512£319,795
South East9.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%19.10%£336,984£401,348
East of England8.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%18.00%£310,240£366,083
London*7.00%2.00%1.50%1.00%0.50%12.40%£486,562£546,896
Source: Savills (*Nationwide)

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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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 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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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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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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Stamp Duty Land Tax transactions in Q1 up 48% annually

The total number of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) transactions in Q1 2021 was up 48% annually, according to HMRC data.

On a quarterly basis, the number of transactions was up 1%.

The increase in transactions in the last three quarters has likely been impacted by the introduction of the SDLT holiday for residential properties, helping offset the decrease caused by COVID-19.

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Residential property transactions in Q1 2021 were 2% higher than in Q4 2020, and 53% higher than in Q1 2020.

Non-residential property transactions in Q1 2021 were 7% lower than in Q4 2020, and 6% higher than in Q1 2020.

Total SDLT receipts in Q1 2021 were 8% lower than in Q4 2020 and total SDLT receipts in Q1 2021 were similar, up 1%, to those in Q1 2020.

The change in receipts has mainly been caused by the introduction of the SDLT holiday.

Residential property receipts in Q1 2021 were similar, within 1%, to both Q4 2020 and Q1 2020.

Non-residential property receipts in Q1 2021 were 24% lower than in Q4 2020, but 4% higher than in Q1 2020.

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Up to Q2 2020 there were 540,900 claims that have benefited from the relief, and the total amount relieved by these claims is £1,294m over the period.

An estimated total of 65,300 transactions were liable to HRAD in Q1 2021, with the 3% element generating £285m in receipts, an decrease of 16% from the previous quarter, and a fall of 15% compared to Q1 2020.

The percentage of residential receipts from HRAD transactions has dropped slightly by 3% to 46% when compared to both Q3 2020 and Q4 2020.

Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at PRIMIS Mortgage Network, said: “Today’s figures show a clear increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax transactions over the first quarter, underscoring the fact that the mortgage industry is continuing to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

“There is no doubt that the Chancellor’s decision to extend the stamp duty tax break in his Budget announcement helped to fuel this activity by stimulating buyer appetite and boosting demand.

“As we approach the tapered extension of the stamp duty holiday, the priority for the mortgage market will be processing cases quickly and efficiently so that borrowers are able to benefit from the tax cut.

“In order to achieve this, key players in the market, including lenders, advisers, distributors, housebuilders, surveyors and conveyancers should work collaboratively to ensure that clients are best supported during this period and that the application process is as smooth as possible for all involved.’’

Cloe Atkinson, managing director at Mortgage Engine, added: “Today’s figures show once again just how frenzied activity in the housing market is.

“The release of pent-up demand for property has been super-charged by the stamp duty holiday extension.

“The tax holiday has certainly been a success by any metric and current activity levels are further proof of the resilience of brokers, lenders and borrowers alike.

“Over the last year, the virus has forced the industry to re-shape the way consumers buy property and led to a great deal of adaption and innovation to overcome the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic.

“Technology has been important for all parties in transitioning to this new way of completing purchases and the industry has seen a large increase in the use of tech solutions, such as remote viewings and automated valuation models.

“As the UK looks forward to the return of some pre-pandemic normality, tech-driven solutions will continue to be a vital part of the success of the mortgage market.

“A lot of progress has been achieved in the last year when it comes to tech adoption, but the industry needs to be ambitious and continue to build upon this momentum to provide better outcomes for its consumers.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Residential transactions show full steam ahead for housing market

The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in March 2021 was 190,980, 102.3% higher than March 2020, according to the latest HMRC Property Transaction data.

On a monthly basis, the figure rose by 32.2%.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in March 2021 was 12,530, up 53% year-on-year and 24.5% on February.

The HMRC data found that the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in March 2021 was 180,690, 107.9% higher than March 2020 and 49.6% higher than February 2021.

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For UK non-residential transactions in March 2021, HMRC found the non-seasonally adjusted estimated was 14,160, 59.2% higher than March 2020 and 61.6% higher than February 2021.

Dave Harris, chief executive of more2life, said: “Today’s findings demonstrate the resilience of the UK housing market.

“Some of the activity in March will no doubt have been fuelled by the ‘race for space’ as homebuyers increasingly prioritise home offices and gardens over the convenience of access to the city centre, but the Chancellor’s extension of the stamp duty holiday will have fuelled buyer appetite as well.

“The reduction in stamp duty has also prompted older borrowers to release the equity in their homes to move to a new house or to purchase a second property.

“At more2life, we have seen the proportion of over-55s using equity release to fund property purchases triple from 5% to 15% in recent months, showing just how essential the Chancellor’s tax break has been in funding people’s ambitions and lifestyle changes during the pandemic.

“We expect this trend to continue in the months running up to the end of the holiday and encourage equity release lenders and advisers to work together when processing cases in order to meet growing consumer demand as efficiently as possible.”

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Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, added: “These figures show that it’s still full steam ahead for brokers and the property market.

“It’s clear that the extension of the stamp duty holiday has added fuel to keep the train moving in March, and it’s on track for a great April too with plenty of demand across the board.

“This of course means that brokers have been, and will be, very busy supporting their clients, so it’s a good idea to look for ways to stay on top of things.

“Our web chat tool, for example, is a great way for brokers to get answers to policy queries fast – our team can usually respond within a minute.”

Cloe Atkinson, managing director at Mortgage Engine, said: “March’s data shows there’s still a healthy level of activity in the market, reflecting the high levels of demand from buyers, boosted by the extension of the stamp duty holiday.

“The figures are further proof that the housing market has adapted well to operating efficiently during the pandemic.

“Brokers, lenders, and borrowers have learned how to successfully navigate the difficult conditions caused by lockdown restrictions.

“Tech-driven solutions have been a vital part of this success, allowing many parts of the housebuying process to be completed entirely remotely.

“As pandemic restrictions in England begin to ease, it’s vital that the industry doesn’t lose sight of the benefits these tech solutions can bring.

“While many people are dreaming about a return to the normality of life pre-pandemic, the mortgage industry should be more ambitious.

“As the post-pandemic recovery begins, the industry should focus on building upon the tech adoption of the last year and innovating further to ultimately provide better outcomes for all involved.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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