Last year was the perfect storm for the housing market according to John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart.
Phillips explains that despite the economic difficulties in 2020, there was an avalanche of buyers looking to purchase due to the lockdown.
This was helped by the stamp duty holiday, which was a key factor in motivating people to purchase property.
In addition, Phillips pointed towards people wanting more outside space because of working from home, and increased savings as a result of the lockdown, which he noted were also key in people wanting to move property.
Phillips said: “No-one would have predicted in March that we’d be talking about the best year since 2007 for mortgage approvals, but this is testament to the brilliant brokers and lenders who have weathered the storm.
“Despite predictions of a cliff edge, we foresee the market going from strength to strength in 2021.
“The end of the stamp duty holiday is set to be a speed bump, with the market slowing until we are past it, but it will quickly gather momentum again.”
Looking towards stamp duty, Jonathan Sealey, chief executive of Hope Capital, said that it feels appropriate that on the day parliament is to debate the stamp duty holiday and merits of an extension, it is revealed that 2020 saw the largest number of mortgage approvals since 2007.
The Bank of England statistics revealed that mortgage approvals in 2020 totalled 818,500, up from 789,100 in 2019.
Sealey said: “All those connected to the property sector, not least the 138,000 people who signed the petition demanding an extension, will be listening with interest to the outcome of that debate later today.
“It is clear that this upward trend that we have been witnessing for several months cannot continue if the stamp duty holiday literally ends overnight on March 31, with many transactions still awaiting completion.”
Sealey went on to outline that imaginative thinking is required by government, and a focus from brokers on alternative ways of financing a property purchase, including the role specialist lenders can play.