BBC NEWS – House sales and prices see early spring surge
21st Apr, 2021
The housing market has been relatively immune to the Covid crisis as people reconsider where they want to live.
Official data also shows average UK house prices rose 8.6% in a year.
There were 180,690 UK property sales in March, the non-seasonally adjusted HMRC figures show, which was more than double the number in March last year and 50% higher than February.
Stamp duty holidays across the UK were set to finish at the end of March, but announcements – including in the Budget on 4 March – extended these deadlines in England, Wales and Northern Ireland into the summer.
“What will be interesting to see is whether this growth is sustainable or simply a reaction to the stamp duty holiday. The next three months will give us a better indication of this,” said Gareth Lewis, commercial director at property lender MT Finance.
“As much as this latest lockdown in particular has been hard, it is encouraging that people have not hunkered down and retreated but carried on with their plans to move.”
That demand for moving home will not be cheered by many first-time buyers who have now seen property prices record their highest annual growth rate in more than six years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said average house prices increased over the year to the end of February in England to £268,000 (up 8.7%), in Wales to £180,000 (up 8.4%), in Scotland to £162,000 (up 8%) and in Northern Ireland to £148,000 (up 5.3%).