Home sales rocketed by a third in December
Sales of homes rocketed in December to 129,400, according to government figures.
This was a massive 31.5% higher than December 2019, and 13.1% up on the previous month.
The Stamp Duty holiday has fuelled purchases, with homebuyers able to avoid up to £15,000 in tax if they can complete on a purchase before March 31st 2021.
However, the surge of sales at the end of the year masks a 11.5% fall in residential sales over the whole of 2020, falling 135,200 to 1,041,610.
Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said: “The residential market saw out 2020 with an explosion in transactions. It’s an annual growth rate that puts even the stellar house price growth of last year in the shade, as the market snatched victory from the jaws of a crisis.
“It represents an unexpected step change in the wake of a pandemic that, at first, looked like it had the potential to decimate the housing industry, however it disguises the fact that over the year as a whole the UK saw a significant slowdown.”
Andrew Montlake, managing director at the UK-wide mortgage broker, Coreco, added: “December saw property transactions reach fever pitch as people rushed to beat the Stamp Duty deadline.
“The worry now is of a collapse in property transactions from April onwards when the Stamp Duty holiday ends, although overall levels are likely to be roughly the same as in 2020.
“Many people are banking on the Chancellor caving in to pressure and extending the deadline, but for now activity levels in the property and mortgage market are nothing short of frantic.”