Usually Christmas can be a quieter period for estate agencies, as people usually will wait until the new year to start searching again, rather than having possible buyers doing viewings at such a busy time. The new year also brings the idea of a fresh start, which fits happily with a new home.
This year has meant that the UK is expected to see an additional 100,000 home sales in early 2021, meaning that this Christmas will be the busiest the industry has seen in years. Zoopla argues that it will be the busiest Christmas for agencies for over a decade. The end of the Stamp duty holiday at the end of March 2021, has meant homeowners are coming forward a lot earlier than the new year to try and make the most of this saving, which could be of up to £15,000.
The market is still staying strong, as Zoopla suggests that the market is showing a 38% increase on sales agreed compared to this time last year. In the South East and London, sales have increased 7% since summer, compared to the same period last year. However, this surge of buyers has pushed house prices up by the biggest increase within the year the market has seen for years, with it expected to carry on increasing all the way up to the end of the year.
Property data shows that the UK's average house price in September 2019 was £233,536 compared to September 2020 where the price had increased by £10,977. For the South East alone where price was higher than the national average, there was an increase of £13,001 with prices last year in September at £323,762 comparing to this year at £336,763.
In the month of October 2020, the amount of transactions was 10% higher than the month of September with over 105,000 completions on residential properties, proving the market is still very strong, according to HMRC. The last time there was a spike this high in one single month was in March 2016 when the Landlords tax changes happened.
Zoopla predicts an extremely busy month in January for estate agents, as home owners try their hardest to get a deal done before the end of the stamp duty holiday, which ends on March the 31st 2021. Yet it has been suggested that only half of these will be able to benefit from the holiday, this could be due to long chains, buyers pulling out or surveys taking a while to go through. Currently as there is a higher demand as well as a pent-up demand of mortgages, mortgage approvals are also taking longer than normal to complete.
There is an expectation for house prices to fall following the end of the Stamp duty holiday, as those that are looking to sell are making most of the busy market currently. However, this being said, originally following lockdown it was thought that the property market would show a sharp decline rather than an increase and instead of this, the property market rocketed due to a collection of reasons.
This year has also been high for homes that have been renovated in a short space of time then sold on again. This has been the highest for the last twelve years, with one in every forty homes that have been sold in the last twelve months being one of these according to research completed by Hamptons International with Land Registry data.