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Sales agreed 50% higher than same period in 2019

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A release of post-lockdown pent-up demand and the race to beat the Stamp Duty deadline has led to a surge in homes progressing through the purchase process
Sales agreed 50% higher than same period in 2019

There are 140,000 more home buyers rushing to beat the Stamp Duty deadline than a year ago, according to Zoopla.

The property portal said that the sales pipeline is up 50% on last year due to a record number of sales agreed following lockdown. It estimates a total of 418,000 sales worth £112bn is currently progressing through the purchase process.

Sales agreed

Zoopla data shows that new sales agreed were up 9% year on year in June, growing to 42% in July, and peaking at 62% in August (see graph below). These sales are now in the transaction pipeline, moving towards completion.

How to beat the Stamp Duty deadline

Many buyers want to take advantage of the temporary Stamp Duty relief, meaning there is pressure to complete their purchase before the end of March deadline.

It currently takes just over 100 days from sales agreed to completion, but the current volume of business means this could increase in the short term. For those keen to beat the Stamp Duty deadline in March, a sale should be agreed before Christmas, said Zoopla, and the property search should begin well in advance.

Most new sales agreed in the final quarter of a normal year will complete by 31 March the following year. However, 54% of sales agreed in January will complete by the end of the first quarter, falling to less than a fifth in February.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “Those who leave it to January to start their search for a home will be cutting it fine – just half of sales agreed in January will convert into a completed sale by the end of March so those looking to beat the stamp duty deadline will need to be well prepared.

“Finding an agent before Christmas and instructing a conveyancer to prepare all the sellers legal information will be essential to boosting the chances of saving up to £15,000.”

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