140,000 more home buyers rushing to beat stamp duty deadline

Oct 30th 2020

A total of 418,000 properties worth £112 billion are currently progressing through the sales pipeline, amounting to a 50% uptick in volume compared to the same period in 2019. These are the latest findings in the monthly House Price Index by UK property portal Zoopla.

  • Upswell in activity driven by acute levels of demand after the market reopened; sales agreed are up 40-60% between July-October compared to 2019

  • Strength of demand means prices have risen to a two and a half year high of 3% over the last 12 months compared to +1.1% this time last year

  • Transactions are taking just over 100 days from sales agreed to completion, but the volume of business means this could increase in the short term. Not all sales agreed in November and December complete by 31 March in a normal year

  • Those hoping to enter the market in January to beat the stamp duty deadline should be aware that just half of sales agreed are likely to complete in time

  • The number of homes for sale is up 18% on last year, at higher average asking prices; the median price of a home on Zoopla is 10% higher than in 2019

  • Regional sales agreed are running at their highest in the South East, London and East

  • Impact of recession and rising unemployment is masked by current strength of market activity; polarisation set to kick in by mid-2021 as sales in less wealthy demographics decline and sales in wealthier demographics increase

Regional sales agreed are running at their highest in the South East, London and South East where the market is recovering off a low base – last year sales volumes in southern regions were 20% lower than in 2015, which is why the rebound in demand has boosted sales so much in southern England . In contrast, sales volumes have held up better in northern regions making less room for growth. 

More demand brings more supply to the market as most buyers are also sellers. London has seen the greatest increase in new supply – up 39% compared to this time last year, while the North East and North West have seen slower growth in supply.

This is explained in part by the rebound in demand led by the capital bringing with it an uptick in stock, as many buyers need to sell an existing property in order to fund their next move.