Property viewings quadruple after stamp duty holiday

Essex Home Finance
Property viewings quadrupled in the third quarter of this year as buyers took advantage of the stamp duty holiday that came into effect in July.
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Property viewings quadrupled in the third quarter of this year as buyers took advantage of the stamp duty holiday that came into effect in July. 

Figures from Andrews, the south of England property group, also show that instructions also increased substantially over this period, more than doubling (123 per cent) when compared to quarter two. 

In total viewings were up 205 per cent in Q3, compared to the previous three months.

Andrews said that given the Covid restrictions, a third of these viewings were still conducted virtually. It says this proportion is likely to increase in the coming months if regional lockdowns are imposed in other parts of the country. 

This data shows buyer activity was consistent across the quarter, with viewings above 5,500 in July, August and September.

Andrews Property Group chief executive David Westgate says: “Buyer and seller activity has remained buoyant since early July when the chancellor announced a freeze on stamp duty. 

“We saw an immediate uplift in viewings and instructions following the announcement, and healthy levels have been maintained, fuelled by the desire to get transactions done while market conditions remain favourable.

“Where the market goes next will very much depend on how the government navigates the next couple of months. Regional lockdowns are putting pressure on local economies and concerns over the end of furlough are likely to weigh on buyers’ and sellers’ minds.”

While the market will be buoyed by the stamp duty holiday and “pent-up buyer demand”, Westgate says that lenders pulling higher LTV rate mortgages in recent weeks is having a cooling effect on the market.

He adds: “This is not necessarily a bad thing. We want to avoid property prices falling off a cliff edge next March when the stamp duty holiday comes to an end.

“The Government should also consider extending the holiday for a further period if the economic climate takes a rapid turn for the worst in the new year, which it could well do if Covid levels aren’t suppressed and we fail to agree a trade deal with the EU.”

Original Article from Mortgage Strategy 23/10/20

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