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UK Hits Record Number Of Homes Sold In A Month

The number of homes sold in the UK hit the highest recorded levels in June, with 213,120 sales registered with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

BBC News reports that a ‘frenzied rush’ to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland made for the busiest ever month since figures were first published in April 2005, during the property market boom that led up to the finical crash.

According to HMRC, the figures ‘captured significant impacts from forestalling activity by taxpayers’, with buyers bringing forward transactions to take advantage of the tax levy.

The figure, which is not seasonally adjusted and is based on estimates, was above 200,000 for the first time and added to the figures from the previous two months, it shows that first quarter of the new financial year was the busiest since Q3 of 2007, with a total of 428,620 sales recorded.

The stamp duty holiday was introduced in July last year, just as the housing market was picking up after the easing of the first lockdown. In England and Northern Ireland, the tax was scrapped on the first £500,000 of any residential property purchase, while in Scotland and Wales the threshold was £250,000.

The original deadline for the stamp duty holiday of 31 March was extended – except in Scotland – meaning buyers had until the end of June to take advantage of the tax break. It is due to be fully phased out in England and Northern Ireland at the end of September.

According to Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, the new sakes record in June is likely to stand for a long time, as it reflected “a perfect storm of demand, driven by locked-down buyers seeking more space, and the introduction of significant tax savings.”

Mortgage rates are also at an all-time low, and Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society has launched the first sub-1 per cent fixed rate deal, and there are still signs of buyers looking for larger homes.

The housing boom was also evident at the top of the property market, with people buying more homes valued at over £5 million in London in the first half of the year than they have since 2014.

Data from estate agent Savills has revealed that there were 237 sales of over £5 million recorded in the first six months of 2021, 59 per cent more than the first half of 2020, when sales were depressed by the first lockdown, and 61 per cent higher than the first six months of 2019.

The total value of the transactions was £2.3 billion, 41 per cent higher than the first half of 2020. It was the highest number and value of transactions since the rush to beat previous stamp duty changes seven years ago.

Savills added that domestic and international buyers already resident in London drove sales as many sought out larger homes and gardens to enjoy after being stuck at home during the lockdowns.

Sales activity was particularly focused in the £5 to £10 million price range, which recorded 179 transactions, 72 per cent more than the 104 sales last year.

Sales over £10m were roughly equal to the first half of 2019. Houses of that value are often bought by overseas buyers, who may not have been able to travel to the UK.

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