The housing market continues to benefit from the government’s stamp duty holiday, with residential transactions returning to pre-Covid-19 levels in September, but there could yet be room for strong sales growth over the next few months.
According to the latest UK Property Transactions Statistics by HMRC, the provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions last month is 98,010, which is very similar to September 2019 at just 0.7% lower and 21.3% higher than August 2020.
The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non -residential transactions in September 2020 is 9,160, 6.3% lower than September 2019 and 18.7% higher than August 2020.
Sam Hunter, chief operating officer of Homesearch, said: “Looking at the HMRC data for last month, it’s clear that the market velocity we’ve been hearing about over the summer wasn’t just hyperbole
“With a 21.3% month-on-month increase in completion levels, the figures provide evidence of the pressure on the lending, surveying and conveyancing sectors as they work through the backlog of deals that were agreed either just before or during lockdown.
“Given current processing timescales, it’s unlikely that many sales agreed after the introduction of the stamp duty holiday in July would have completed in September, so it’s quite possible we’ll see an even more significant increase on completions every month between now and the end of March.
“Savvy agents are already looking at how these increased transaction times may impact their cash flow, and are also taking steps to insulate their pipelines going forward. Advising motivated vendors to instruct their legals as soon as possible and crucially, explaining why this is important, will manage expectations and help get deals across the line as efficiently as possible.”
Activity levels in the housing market are far more buoyant than many property professionals had expected.
John Goodall, CEO of specialist buy-to-let lender, Landbay, said: “September has bounced back strongly and is now exceeding the strong levels of demand that we saw at the start of the year. We are seeing many landlords anticipating an increase in rental demand as it gets harder for people to get on the property ladder due to increasing unemployment and the reduction in high LTV mortgages.
“I expect this rise in numbers to continue into early 2021 as people rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.”