House prices latest: Property sales soar to five-year peak - ‘covid blown lid off market
HOUSE sales have soared to their highest level for five years as Covid "blows the lid off the homes market".
By SARAH O'GRADY, DAILY EXPRESS SOCIAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT
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Around 105,630 transactions took place last month – the highest for October since 2015 – according to official figures. Across Britain, sales were up by 8.1 percent year on year on the back of pent-up demand and a rush by would-be buyers to save as much as £15,000 during the stamp duty holiday.
Transactions were also nearly 9.8 percent higher than in September 2020, data from HM Revenue and Customs showed.
Andrew Southern, chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said: “Covid-19 has blown the lid off the housing market. After years in the doldrums, coronavirus has unexpectedly provided the rude awakening the market needed to launch its great escape.
“The pandemic and a raft of measures to support the economy have delivered record house prices and, finally, a head-turning recovery in sales volumes.
“There haven’t been more transactions than this in a single month since March 2016, and even that was a very unusual spike created by tax changes for landlords.
“This pandemic milestone is against the run of play and mirrors the outperformance of the housing market compared with other sectors.
Couple moving in new house
Around 105,630 transactions took place last month (Image: Robert Daly/Getty Images)
“It’s also the first time since coronavirus erupted that residential sales volumes have grown on an annual basis – and that’s fantastic news.
“It reinforces the strength of the housing market, which gives developers the confidence to keep building.
“It also provides a confidence boost to prospective homeowners who, in the face of negative news and the prospect that the end of the stamp duty holiday in March could soften prices, want to feel they aren’t jumping in with both feet at the wrong moment.”
Although numbers are up, sales plunged by around half in April and May this year compared with 2019.
The stimulus was the “nil rate” band for stamp duty being increased to £500,000 from July 8 and this will remain in place through to March 31 next year.