The most recent house price index from Rightmove tells us that new homebuyers continue to flock to the UK housing market, but warns that their chances of beating the stamp duty holiday deadline are ‘slim’ as prices fall by 0.9%,
Research from the property portal shows that visits to Rightmove are up by 33% compared to January 2020, while there has also been a 9% rise in people contacting estate agents, and agreed sales are up by 9% on last year.
But while demand remains strong, the average time to complete a purchase is now over four months. Rightmove suggests that this delay could cause as many as 100,000 sales to miss the stamp duty deadline of March 31st. Concerns remain around the possibility that the end of the holiday will cause a large portion of these sales to fall-through before completion, but most projections of this happening have been somewhat over-egged.
Our own research shows that less than over 70% of buyers are not motivated by the stamp duty holiday, and 30% of buyers are first-timers which means they SDLT-exempt regardless of whether there is a holiday or not.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data comments: “As we enter the new year and a new lockdown, the housing market remains open but is focused on the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday and on the challenges of the pandemic. These major influences on mover behaviour are clouding the 2021 outlook, but Rightmove’s early January market-leading indicators of buyer demand and the number of actual sales being agreed are looking robust, showing that there are many compelling reasons other than the stamp duty savings to make buyers enter the market in 2021.”