Wed 22 Sep 2021
The latest figures from HMRC have revealed that residential property transactions climbed to 98,300 in August - a 20.8% rise against August 2020 and 32.0% higher than July 2021.
When non-seasonally adjusted, there were 106,150 transactions, 24.8% higher than August 2020 and 28.0% higher than July.
Anna Clare Harper, CEO of property consultancy SPI Capital, added: "The uptick in transactions in August reflects the impact of government policy. At the end of June, the temporary reduction in stamp duty began to step down. Investors, homeowners, solicitors and banks pushed hard to get transactions done in time for buyers to complete before the end of June to make the most of this temporary relief. Transactions slowed in July and, since then, the pace has picked up. Buyers are now rushing to complete transactions before the final ‘step down’ in September.
"Throughout this period, interest rates have been low and banks have been happy to lend at a very low cost to potential buyers, boosting transactions further."
Mike Scott, Chief Analyst at estate agency Yopa, says: "New figures from HMRC for the number of homes sold in August show that the housing market has recovered very quickly from the dip in activity after the stamp duty deadline at the end of June. 32% more homes were sold in August than in July, and 1.3% more than in August 2019 (August 2020 was still affected by the closure of the housing market between March and May, and so isn’t a good basis for comparison). Yopa expects another surge in the number of completed sales in September, as people rush to beat the final deadline for saving up to £2,500 of stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland, followed by another brief dip in October and then a return to a more normal, but still very active, housing market.
"In the first eight months of the year, there have been over 1.05 million homes sold, more than were sold in the whole of 2020 and more than for the January to August period of any year since 2007. We expect around 1.5 million sales for the full year, around 25% higher than in any year for the past decade, and an indication of the pace of activity in the housing market, which is largely a reaction to the various effects of the pandemic. The market is likely to stay very active into the first quarter of 2022, perhaps followed by a slowdown in the second half of next year as the recovery from the pandemic finally works its way through the system."
Chris Hutchinson, CEO of Canopy, comments: “Activity in the housing market has raced back up again in August after the immediate lull in demand following the stamp duty holiday coming to an end in July. First-time buyers may finally be getting a foot forward after months of being blocked out of the frenzied market, but we’re still seeing a big chasm between supply and demand, which is fuelling competition. Recent data from Propertymark suggests that there are an average 19 buyers chasing every available property on the market. And with rents soaring at record rates, many people may find it impossible to raise the funds for a deposit and secure an affordable mortgage.
“Now is the time for the government to consider more long-term solutions to support first-time buyers. Helping renters get credit-ready can make all the difference between being denied or accepted that all-important mortgage when the time comes to buy. Building the financial security of renters should be a top priority.”