Buyers are still looking to move home, despite having little realistic prospect of meeting the stamp duty holiday deadline, according to a new report from property portal Rightmove.
All the indicators used by Rightmove to track buyer activity reveal demand for properties is ahead of this time last year. These include the number of people contacting estate agents about homes for sale, which is up by 18%, and visits to the portal’s website - up by 45%.
However, high demand is also outstripping supply, limiting choice for buyers and pushing up prices, in spite of challenging conditions elsewhere in the economy. The study found that the number of properties coming onto the market has fallen by 21% since last year.
This may be due to a lack of family homes, as a result of home-schooling commitments and the challenge of keeping a property in a marketable state while households are stuck at home.
Rightmove data expert, Tim Bannister said: “Last year the market was unexpectedly buoyed by buyers’ determination to move and satisfy their new lockdown-induced housing needs. We may well be seeing a continuation of that this year.
“Rightmove’s early 2021 buyer data shows that despite the imminent end of the stamp duty incentive, all of the key buyer metrics are ahead of early 2020, itself an active period as the market was boosted by the post-election ‘Boris bounce’.”
The report also found that as many as 20% of the buyers who agreed their sales in July, when the tax break was first announced, have still not completed because of logjams in the system. And the study estimates that 100,000 sales agreed before Christmas won’t meet the stamp duty deadline, meaning buyers will be faced with an unexpected tax bill.
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, however, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a six-week extension of the stamp duty holiday to prevent homebuyers from becoming caught in a “completion trap”.
Read more about this story on the Rightmove