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Housing market buoyant as race for space continues

Parents packing boxes and children playing as family prepares to move home

UK house purchases jumped by nearly 70% in September as buyers rushed to complete transactions before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Among the factors driving the market is the continued exodus from cities in the wake of the pandemic, as homeowners sell up and get more for their money in a rural location or by the coast. With many people still working from home at least part of the time, it's not hard to see the appeal of moving into a bigger property, with a dedicated home office and a spacious garden.

The latest monthly statistics from HMRC show that UK residential property transactions totalled 160,950 in September 2021, 68.4% higher than September 2020 and 67.5% higher than August 2021.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were 165,720 transactions, 67.3% higher than September 2020 and 59.7% higher than August.

"This boom in transactions -- the highest level in over 10 years -- is unsurprising," commented Anna Clare Harper, CEO of property consultancy SPI Capital.

"Investors, homeowners, solicitors and banks pushed hard to get transactions done before the end of September, so that buyers could make the most of the final stage of the temporary stamp duty relief.

"This was combined with lockdown-led upsizing, a flight to safer assets and cheap finance due to long-term low interest rates, all encouraging people to buy a home."

Recent research shows that almost half of us yearn to move to a larger home, with more than a third considering their current home to be too small for their needs.

In a poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by Furniture Village, more than six in 10 said they struggle to keep their property tidy because there isn't enough room, and over half worry the size of their home is negatively impacting their mental wellbeing.

A bigger kitchen is the top priority for 47% of homeowners and renters. More than one third want an extra bedroom and three in are 10 looking for larger bedrooms, while more than a quarter would also like a more spacious bathroom, a garden and more storage space.

As many as 43% say they haven't 'settled' into their current home because they know they want to move somewhere bigger in the future.

Analysts expect residential property demand to fall back in October, but quickly bounce back and remain high.

"In reality, we're still riding pretty high and house prices, as reported by the ONS, continue to climb as demand for properties with more space and away from city centres remains," said Richard Pike, sales and marketing director for financial services software provider Phoebus.

"With demand outstripping supply, fierce competition is keeping the fire burning in the housing market," said Peter Beaumont, CEO of The Mortgage Lender. "Buyers are scrabbling to make the most of record-low mortgage rates, seizing a window of opportunity before they may disappear off the market. What's more, with hybrid working establishing itself as a fixture of post-pandemic working life, the race for space rolls on."

Posted by Fidelius on October 25th 2021

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