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Agents still worried about cliff-edge threat to stamp duty holiday

NAEA Propertymark has renewed its warning that a cliff-edge threatens housing market stability as the stamp duty holiday ends.

The organisation’s outgoing chief executive Mark Hayward says: “The pressure of completing sales ahead of the Stamp Duty holiday ending means that we have seen the number of potential buyers and the number of sales completed remain unusually high for this time of year.

“This boom has been hugely beneficial for the housing market; however, we are increasingly concerned about the impact of the stamp duty cliff edge on March 31. This cliff edge has already increased pressure on service providers within the industry, causing delays for buyers and sellers, and could cause thousands of sales to fall through at the final hurdle as buyers realise their sale will not be completed ahead of the deadline.”

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Hayward, who leaves the organisation at the end of the year, was making his remarks in relation to the NAEA’s October housing market report, issued over the weekend.

It says that in October, the average number of prospective buyers registered per branch reached 451, a fall from 525 in September.

However, this is the highest number on record for the month of October, and an increase of almost a third from October 2019 when there were 341 house hunters on average per branch.

The average number of sales agreed per branch stood at 12 in October, a small decrease from 14 in September. This is the highest figure recorded for October since 2006.

Year-on-year, the number of sales per branch has increased 50 per cent, rising from eight in October 2018 and October 2019.

Meanwhile the number of properties available per branch stood at 39 in October, falling marginally from 41 in September.

In terms of sale prices, in October just seven per cent of properties sold for above the original asking price. The majority (58 per cent) sold for below the original asking price.

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