With the uncertainty of the UK economy, coupled with incentives such as the Stamp Duty Holiday, it’s been an interesting twelve months for the UK housing market to say the least.
February saw an uptick in house prices ahead of the planned end of the Stamp Duty Holiday, now pushed back to the end of June, which many didn’t expect.
The UK Nationwide house price index rose 0.7% in February 2021, a stark contrast to January’s 0.2% contraction. Furthermore, economists hadn’t even predicted a rise at all, Reuters had forecast a 0.3% contraction.
The prices year on year make for pleasant reading for those looking to sell as well, with house prices up 6.9% compared to February last year.
Growth in house prices has been accelerating since the government introduced the Stamp Duty holiday last July in response to the immediate slump in the market after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The combination of the tax exemption and increased buyer demand for larger properties during lockdown has led to a healthy increase in house prices in the UK, with little signs of slowing too dramatically now the Stamp Duty holiday has been extended until the end of June 2021.
While the UK economy as a whole has taken a lot of damage from the pandemic, the housing market has benefited from government schemes and protections that have led to it remaining reasonably unscathed, even healthy.
Housing experts don’t foresee this growth stopping for a while either. In addition to the extension of the stamp duty holiday, the Chancellor’s latest budget also outlined provisions to incentivise low deposit mortgages.
Lenders that agree to give mortgages to buyers who can only put down a 5% mortgage will have a government guarantee protecting the loan, meaning good news for first time buyers, as well as those looking to sell their property.
The winding down of furlough schemes later in this year, along with the eventual end of the Stamp Duty holiday have caused some to be cautious about the market in the latter half of the year. However, many believe that vaccination rollouts, lifting of lockdown restrictions, and support from the Budget mean there are more than enough reasons to be positive about the UK housing market.
We’re rather into our conveyancing here at Manak Solicitors, with a team of expert lawyers who have dealt with every fashion of property deal in the Kent and London area. If you’d like to enter the market while it’s strong, either as a buyer or seller, we’d be delighted to advise you and help you keep the process as easy and painless as possible.