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Stamp Duty boost will make 2021 market one of the busiest ever

The number of transactions is scheduled to reach 1.52 million this year - way above the norm of between 1.0 and 1.2 million - and it appears to be down to stamp duty.

Data and predictions from Zoopla show that as well as breaking a recent record for sales market activity, 2021 is projected to go on record as one of the top 10 busiest years for agents since 1959.

The portal says the value of homes sold in 2021 is expected to reach £461 billion - that’s up 46 per cent compared to 2020, and up 68 per cent compared to 2019.

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Despite that, Zoopla anticipates that the market will be held back by limited supply, which is down 20.8 per cent in the year to mid-May, compared the average across 2020.

In a flurry of figures released by the portal to indicate the strength of the market, house price growth has almost doubled on the year running at 4.1 per cent in April - up from 2.3 per cent a year earlier. 

The biggest pressure point is demand for family houses, with average annual values up 5.2 per cent compared to a 1.1 per cent increase for flats.

The hottest regional sales markets include Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West, where property is selling 10 days faster than in 2017-2019 and prices are growing most strongly. At a city level, Liverpool and Manchester are registering the highest levels of growth for the fifth month in a row.

Meanwhile it’s a very different picture in the capital: house prices in inner London are up just 0.3 per cent on the year, with price falls in the City of London, Kensington & Chelsea, the City of Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham 

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, comments: “Demand levels have moderated since the peak in Q1 as the economy opens up and life starts to return to some sort of ‘normal’. 

“The easing of lockdowns will continue to cause a natural fall in demand as people are able to see family and enjoy amenities that have been shut for more than a year, but new buyer demand will still emerge throughout the second half of the year as office-based workplaces confirm if they will be pursuing more flexible working practices. 

“Households who have the opportunity to commute less frequently have more options when it comes to choosing where to live, and this could prompt a move.

“Likewise, older households will continue to review how and where they are living, with many more set to move for the first time in years. With an increased array of mortgages to choose from, first-time buyers will also remain active in the market.

“At the same time, supply constraints will continue to underpin pricing. The lack of supply is expected to hamper potential sales during this year, yet even so, we expect total transactions this year to rise to 1.5 million, marking one of the busiest years in the UK’s residential market in more than a decade.”

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