The announcement of a stamp duty 'holiday' for England and Northern Ireland gave a boost to the housing market and a much-needed lift in sentiment amongst homeowners.
In addition to this, it has helped give higher-priced homes an increased chance of selling in the southern commuter belt and outer areas of London where people are set to make the biggest savings.
Newly released research from Rightmove compared home-hunters enquiring about property the week following the announcement with the week before and found that the biggest jump in buyer demand was in the £400,000 to £500,000 price band where stamp duty is now exempt until 31st March 2021, up 49%, followed by the £500,001 to £750,000 band where buyers will save £15,000, up 40%.
In contrast, homes priced at £300,000 or under saw a muted increase of just 1% and the overall uplift across all property was 14%.
The number of sales agreed by sector shows that the higher end of the property ladder, where asking prices are on average £591,508, saw the biggest immediate increase, up 54% compared to the same week last year.
The top five biggest winners for a boost in enquiries were properties priced between £400,000 and £500,000 in Milton Keynes, Watford, Harrow, Chelmsford and Ilford.
For people still in the search stage of their home-moving journey, it was locations in the South and the East of England that saw the largest uplifts, with Borehamwood seeing the biggest jump of 41%. The average asking price of the top ten collectively is just below the new threshold for England, at £483,081.
There was a 5% increase in the number of new sellers coming to market in England compared to the previous week, which we expect to increase further over the next few months as people look to make the most of the stamp duty holiday window.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s Commercial Director and Housing Market Analyst, says: “The uplift in enquiries is likely a mixture of people looking in new areas to see what they can now afford, changing their search criteria to bigger, slightly more expensive homes, and new movers coming into the market because they now have enough extra budget to move home. The savings of £15,000 on property above £500,000 may also help some people to trade up more easily.
”Our analysis shows that this is going to help the mid-market the most, but all parts of a property chain are vital to keeping the market moving. Although low deposit mortgage options are slowly coming back to the market, first-time buyers who were already exempt from stamp duty up to £300,000 may find that they will be competing with some buy-to-let investors also looking to make the most of the stamp duty savings in this sector of the market.”