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August sees boost in the number of homes sold

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The Stamp Duty holiday, super-low mortgage rates and the shift to working from home are all adding fuel to the red-hot housing market

Sales of homes in August were up 28% compared to July, reaching 106,150, according to official figures from HM Revenue & Customs.

This was a 24% rise compared to August 2020 and close to pre-pandemic levels in August 2019.

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “Housing transactions have been hugely influenced by stamp duty holiday deadlines this year, with one more still to go.

“August’s bounce in sales represents a bit of a relief rally, coming straight after the cliff edge created by June’s taper, and the ultimate end of the tax break this month is likely to deliver one final unseasonal jump on the figures.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, reckons the market will remain strong beyond the final Stamp Duty holiday deadline at the end of this month. He said: “Today’s transaction statistics, which show a big increase from July’s numbers, evidence that deeper changes in lifestyle preferences are set to support consistently high levels of market activity long term, and that buyers aren’t being deterred even by an increase in their tax bill.

We may not see quite the same level of intensity that we saw in the spring, which was the product of an unprecedented set of market forces, but we’re already starting to see signs of a return to relatively high levels of activity coming into the autumn, with transactions close to pre-pandemic levels.”

And Jamie Thompson of Manchester-based Jamie Thompson Mortgages, added that low mortgage rates were fuelling the growth in sales: “Stupendously cheap mortgages and financial stimulus in the form of the Stamp Duty holiday have been a major contributor to the property transaction volumes and price growth of the past year, but so, too, have the lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic,” he said. “That’s reflected very clearly in the strong August transactions data.

“The availability of ultra-cheap mortgages and people continuing to reassess what they want from a property will maintain a degree of transactions during the rest of the year. There is still a lot of fire among first-time buyers in particular, who are being supported by lenders across the board.”