Fri 07 May 2021
While many buyers hope to benefit from the stamp duty holiday, it is not guaranteed that they will be able to transact in time. Is it possible to make two offers - one if you meet the deadline and a lower one if you don’t? Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told This is Money: ’We are seeing a bit of this happening - we saw it before th first stamp duty deadline was looming at the beginning of the year, and are seeing more now as the end of June deadline comes closer. Sometimes it is not voiced as such, but buyers have in their heads that if they don’t make the deadline, they intend to reduce their offer because they will be that much worse off. We are probably not quite near enough yet to the withdrawal of the concession for too many people to think about it, but it will certainly be in the minds of many first-time buyers in particular as that deadline nears.'
The average price of a UK home jumped by 1.1% in March, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf told The Guardian that the market had been boosted by government support measures. ‘Faster rollout of the vaccine too has helped to encourage more appraisals and instructions but not at a fast enough rate to head off further upward pressure on prices in the traditionally busier spring market.’ He added in The Times: ‘The number of buyer inquiries, sales agreed and transactions were boosted by the stamp duty extension after lockdown and the conveyancing backlog prompted a market pause.'
The latest research from Rightmove also shows that the number of sales agreed in March increased by 55 per cent on the same period two years ago, which has reduced the number of homes available for sale to the lowest ever recorded. It’s clear that this is one of the strongest sellers’ markets seen in over a decade but will it last? Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Express: ’We expect momentum to ease once stamp duty relief is tapered from the end of June, although the availability and low cost of credit, as well as the government’s new mortgage guarantee scheme, are likely to result in a price softening rather than a correction.’
Demand for space means leafy boroughs such as Bromley, Ealing and Richmond have performed better than central options. Another divide has emerged between property types, with houses in greater demand and therefore experiencing stronger price growth than flats. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘We are seeing a sellers’ market for houses and buyers’ market for flats.'
Frenzied demand has fuelled twice as many property sales in the first months of this year as the market becomes the busiest in decades, according to Zoopla. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph there was a 'general consensus’ that the strong surge in demand seen over the past few months will not continue indefinitely, with the end of the stamp duty break on 30 June, expected to cool the market. ’Nevertheless, we are still confident that there are sufficient buyers to ensure property prices will not correct sharply,’ he added.
First-time buyers find it harder than most to get on the housing ladder so is shared ownership the answer? Jeremy Leaf told The Metro: ‘It can be relatively easy to buy into but not so easy to get out of when perhaps the buyer’s circumstances have changed. Buyers should always take professional advice before committing to a purchase,’ he adds.