When the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced, families in the process of moving house were placed in limbo during an already unprecedented and uncertain time. As a result of the first lockdown and the current stamp duty holiday, the property market is thriving. This time around, buyers and sellers alike will be pleased to know that the property market remains open.
Many estate agents have adapted to working remotely and Covid-securely by having online viewings. Those selling properties have found themselves spoilt for choice of buyers making offers at and above the asking price of their property. Likewise, buyers have found themselves in bidding wars, and properties are selling quickly. There have been reports of people buying property without having stepped foot in the house that is to be their new home, having been on a virtual tour from the comfort of their own sofa.
The temporary stamp duty holiday has cut the stamp duty rate to 0% for all properties sold at £500,000 or under until 31 March 2021. This has meant many buyers have made a huge saving of up to £15,000 and allowed them to move to either a bigger property than they may have planned or have moved up the property ladder.
Whilst house prices grew nationally by an average of 8.5% in 2020; the North West had the highest growth of house prices at 11.2%. Gardens, parking and home workspaces have been in the highest demand. The average house price, in some cases, has increased more than the potential stamp duty saving.
The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases has also increased sharply despite the initial uncertainty as to how lenders would react. This is the case even where low-deposit mortgage products have been removed from the market, affecting the number of mortgages offered to first-time buyers. Some lenders are finding it tough to keep up with the demand with some delays in processing mortgage applications.
We wait to hear the news as to whether the Stamp Duty holiday will be extended. The aim of the holiday was to give buyers the confidence to move during uncertain times. Many buyers have said that their desire to move was not influenced by the holiday but other extenuating factors such as a long-term requirement of working from home.
If you need any more information or require assistance regarding the transaction of your property, you can contact our Residential Property team on 0161 941 4000 or email The Residential Property Team.