Tuesday 24 November 2020 1:12 pm

UK housing transactions surge in October due to stamp duty holiday

UK housing transactions surged in October as the stamp duty holiday reignited the property market following the first coronavirus lockdown.

Residential transactions jumped 8.1 per cent to 105,630 last month, compared to October 2019.

Read more: Mortgage approvals soar to 13-year high as UK housing market booms

Activity was 9.8 per cent higher than September, according to the latest statistics from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Non-residential transactions were down 5.1 per cent when compared to last year, but were up 6.2 per cent on the previous month.

HMRC said the increase in residential transactions last month was caused by the continued release of pent-up demand since the housing market reopened following the coronavirus lockdown.

The surge was also driven by the stamp duty holiday, and the equivalent schemes in Scotland and Wales.

“The stamp duty holiday – which is in place until next March – is encouraging homeowners who may have otherwise battened down the hatches to return to the market in large numbers to sell their property and move along the housing ladder,” Lee Pickett, real estate partner at law firm DWF, said.

He added: “This simulated boost to the residential market is having the desired effect of creating volume in the market, but it could also be argued that it is swelling prices too, with average UK house prices now around eight times more than the average UK salary”.

Read more: UK housing market remains buoyant but braces for downturn

Andrew Southern, the chairman of property developer Southern Grove, said the pandemic has “blown the lid off the housing market”.

“After years in the doldrums, coronavirus has unexpectedly provided the rude awakening the market needed to launch its great escape,” he said.

“The pandemic and a raft of measures to support the economy have delivered record house prices and , finally, a head-turning recovery in sales volumes.”