The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in February 2021 was 147,050, up 48.5% annually, according to the latest HMRC Property Transaction data.
On a monthly basis the estimate is also up 23%, and these figures are the highest number for the month of February since 2007.
Looking to the estimate of UK non-residential transactions in February 2021, this was up 10.2% year-on-year to 10,630, and 25.8% higher than January 2021.
The non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in February 2021 was 122,840, 48.3% higher than February 2020 and 26.4% higher than January 2021.
Non-seasonally adjusted non-residential transactions in February 2021 was 9,230, 9.9% higher annually and 27.7% higher than the month prior.
Guy Gittins, chief executive of Chestertons, added: “While there is no doubt that there are a lot of people very keen to move home, many didn’t feel comfortable starting the process until they had some idea of when the country might be out of lockdown.
“Once this was provided, we noticed an immediate uplift in new buyers registering with us, and the subsequent announcement confirming the extension of the stamp duty holiday only added to this.
“As the country emerges from lockdown, we expect moving home will be many people’s top priority; just as we saw after the first lockdown; and are therefore anticipating a very busy spring and summer market.
“We currently have around 70% more properties on the market for sale than we did last year.
“This is good news for buyers as it means that substantial price increases are relatively unlikely for the time being and that there are generally more homes to choose from.”
David Whittaker, chief executive at Keystone Property Finance, added: “Putting these figures into context, today’s HMRC data looks at property transactions before the stamp duty land tax holiday was extended in the Chancellor’s Budget this March.
“As was speculated at the time, today’s figures confirm many purchases rushed through in February as buyers and sellers took advantage of the tax break.
“The stamp duty holiday presents an excellent opportunity for landlords looking to increase their portfolio and cash in on the tax break, however there are significant challenges to navigate as well. 2020 was a challenging year for the buy-to-let market.
“We saw a raft of regulatory changes in areas from energy rating requirements to mortgage payment tax relief and unprecedented market conditions of surging demand paired with limited capacity while working from home.
“These factors have created an unfamiliar market for even experienced landlords.
“In these times, it is even more essential that borrowers are seeking broker support and guidance to help them secure the best product available.”
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, also reacted to these figures: “With the strongest housing market in more than a decade, both home buyers and investors are taking advantage of historically low borrowing rates.”These favour both those buying a property to live in and those seeking rental assets for yield, significantly boosting the number of transactions.
“With the extension of the stamp duty break, further buyers have decided that now is the time to buy with a potential saving of up to £15,000 to tempt them.
“This saving, along with high loan-to-values and cheaper mortgages, is making this a sellers’ market, with buyers waiting in the wings to pounce.
“Many are prepared to pay higher prices than the past few years so as not to miss out, which is pushing values even higher.”