Finally, after the pent-up frustrations of lockdown, we have some very good news to report:
Firstly, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a substantial boost for the housing market with the raising of the SDLT (Stamp Duty) threshold from £125,000 to £500,000. This really is quite incredible and will save buyers up to £15,000 (£10,000 for first time buyers who already enjoy a discounted SDLT rate). The concession also applies to buy-to-let investors and second home owners.
If the idea is to kick start house sales then this is certain to do the trick. There are plenty of buyers around, enjoying low interest rates too, but stock is woefully low, with 15% fewer properties available than this time last year. This boost will encourage people thinking about moving to do so immediately, as the concession expires in March 2021.
This additional activity will in turn generate knock-on sales and inspire even more confidence in a market that has come out of lockdown with only slight bruising. Indeed, before the SDLT concession was announced, over 85% of movers said they still planned to move, despite the effects of the pandemic. The survey of over 2,000 movers was conducted by Zoopla, who also predict that annual house price growth will hold at around 2% over the coming months as a result of renewed demand and overall activity.
What will happen as soon as the SDLT holiday comes to an end is yet to be seen, but hopefully it will coincide with people coming to terms with lifestyle adjustments and being able to make longer-term housing decisions. Rightmove has already reported that over 12% of movers are actually doing so as a result of virus-related living/working changes.
But for the time being, if you are considering moving up, moving down, moving on or moving out, there will be no better time than right now to do so. This is exciting!
Nav Sharma FNAEA
Ruxton Independent Estate Agents & Valuers LLP