Editor's Pick

Sales surged in February but how long will the mini-boom last?

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The rush to beat the Stamp Duty deadline impacted last month’s figures

Property sales soared in February as buyers rushed to beat the Stamp Duty deadline, according to figures from HMRC.

It said that UK residential transactions in February 2021 totalled 122,840 – the highest February total since the introduction of the statistics in their current format in 2005.

The government said transactions in February 2021 were likely impacted by the temporary Stamp Duty holiday, because buyers were rushing to complete before the end of the tax holiday.

In fact, the Chancellor later extended the deadline for the tax break in his budget in early March, but buyers in February didn’t know that.

Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington Property Finders, said: “This was the moment the pace of property sales jumped from brisk to breakneck.

“As the clock ticked down on what was due to be the end on the Stamp Duty holiday, the number of completions went through the roof – surging a dizzying 23% on what had already been a busy January.

“Clearly February’s extraordinary numbers are unlikely to be repeated. Now the Chancellor has moved the finish line back by several months, the pace is unlikely to stay quite as breathless. But the combination of a strong pipeline of would-be buyers, a gradual rolling back of lockdown and a growing sense of optimism should prove formidable.”

George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents, Radstock Property, added: “The Stamp Duty holiday saw transaction levels reach fever pitch in February. Two years of property market activity have effectively played out in nine months.

“As life slowly returns to normal, the property market will itself slow and is likely to take a transactional rest later in the year.”