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HMRC resi transactions show “full steam ahead” for UK housing market

Jake Carter

April 21, 2021

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The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in March 2021 was 190,980, 102.3% higher than March 2020, according to the latest HMRC Property Transaction data.

On a monthly basis, the figure rose by 32.2%.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in March 2021 was 12,530, up 53% year-on-year and 24.5% on February.

The HMRC data found that the non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in March 2021 was 180,690, 107.9% higher than March 2020 and 49.6% higher than February 2021.

For UK non-residential transactions in March 2021, HMRC found the non-seasonally adjusted estimated was 14,160, 59.2% higher than March 2020 and 61.6% higher than February 2021.

Dave Harris, chief executive of more2life, said: “Today’s findings demonstrate the resilience of the UK housing market.

“Some of the activity in March will no doubt have been fuelled by the ‘race for space’ as homebuyers increasingly prioritise home offices and gardens over the convenience of access to the city centre, but the Chancellor’s extension of the stamp duty holiday will have fuelled buyer appetite as well.

“The reduction in stamp duty has also prompted older borrowers to release the equity in their homes to move to a new house or to purchase a second property.

“At more2life, we have seen the proportion of over-55s using equity release to fund property purchases triple from 5% to 15% in recent months, showing just how essential the Chancellor’s tax break has been in funding people’s ambitions and lifestyle changes during the pandemic.

“We expect this trend to continue in the months running up to the end of the holiday and encourage equity release lenders and advisers to work together when processing cases in order to meet growing consumer demand as efficiently as possible.”

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, added: “These figures show that it’s still full steam ahead for brokers and the property market.

“It’s clear that the extension of the stamp duty holiday has added fuel to keep the train moving in March, and it’s on track for a great April too with plenty of demand across the board.

“This of course means that brokers have been, and will be, very busy supporting their clients, so it’s a good idea to look for ways to stay on top of things.

“Our web chat tool, for example, is a great way for brokers to get answers to policy queries fast – our team can usually respond within a minute.”

Cloe Atkinson, managing director at Mortgage Engine, said: “March’s data shows there’s still a healthy level of activity in the market, reflecting the high levels of demand from buyers, boosted by the extension of the stamp duty holiday.

“The figures are further proof that the housing market has adapted well to operating efficiently during the pandemic.

“Brokers, lenders, and borrowers have learned how to successfully navigate the difficult conditions caused by lockdown restrictions.

“Tech-driven solutions have been a vital part of this success, allowing many parts of the housebuying process to be completed entirely remotely.

“As pandemic restrictions in England begin to ease, it’s vital that the industry doesn’t lose sight of the benefits these tech solutions can bring.

“While many people are dreaming about a return to the normality of life pre-pandemic, the mortgage industry should be more ambitious.

“As the post-pandemic recovery begins, the industry should focus on building upon the tech adoption of the last year and innovating further to ultimately provide better outcomes for all involved.”


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