UK house prices recorded a surprise jump this month as buyers were undeterred by the looming stamp duty holiday deadline.
After three consecutive monthly falls the average price of property coming to market increased 0.5 per cent – or £1,511 – this month.
The number of new buyers has continued to grow despite the fact that it is now too late for most to beat the stamp duty deadline of 31 March.
Meanwhile, one in five buyers who agreed a purchase in July last year have still not completed, with an estimated 100,000 buyers still likely to miss out on their expected tax saving, according to Rightmove data.
High demand is also outstripping supply and pushing up prices. New seller numbers are down 21 per cent on the previous year as family home owners delay coming to the market, with experts suggesting it could be due to homeschooling distractions.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “Last year the market was unexpectedly buoyed by buyers’ determination to move and satisfy their new lockdown-induced housing needs.
“We may well be seeing a continuation of that this year. Rightmove’s early 2021 buyer data shows that despite the imminent end of the stamp duty incentive, all of the key buyer metrics are ahead of early 2020, itself an active period as the market was boosted by the post-election ‘Boris bounce’.
“As well as the current lockdown motivating buyer demand again, the restrictions have also been a factor in limiting new supply, leading to some modest upwards price pressure. These are strong signs that new buyer demand is not facing a cliff-edge after the 31st of March.
“It remains to be seen if this momentum will be enough to make up for the removal of the stamp duty savings that are benefitting many buyers and have been adding a sense of urgency to the whole market.”