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UK housing demand increases massively since the end of lockdown.

“Four- and five-bed houses are selling 33% faster than in 2019, as buyers prioritise more space and widen their search criteria – migrating away from the more expensive cities, suburbs and commuter belts while enabling their budgets to stretch further. Meanwhile, flats are taking the longest time to sell”Zoopla

The context:

In these unprecedented times of lockdown and global pandemic, Zoopla released a report post-lockdown which announced a huge increase in property demand and sales.

In their report, Zoopla observed that spacious 3&4 bedroom countryside properties had increased in popularity – a direct response to the need for home offices, whereas urban flats are now the slowest market segment. The work from home dynamics engendered by the COVID-19 outbreak are synonymous with more buyers willing to prioritise rural, less commuter-friendly properties, as many people are still working from home and the future remains uncertain.

In their comparison between two similar time frames from 2019 and 2020, Zoopla also noted that it now takes the average property 27 days to get bought (from its initial listing to its sale), as opposed to the 39 days back in 2019.  

So why is this happening?

As stated above, a big reason behind this surge in demand is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, another major reason is the recent stamp duty holiday set in place by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. On the Wednesday 8th of July 2020, he announced that reduced rates would be applied to the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on residential properties purchased from the 8th of July 2020 to the 31st of March 2021. This is obviously a major change which will help buyers amidst the coronavirus outbreak, and which will undoubtedly boost the UK’s property market. The reasoning behind this is that more people buying homes will in turn help the economy.

Residential Rates on purchases from the 8th of July 2020 to the 31st of March 2021:

From the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stamp-duty-land-tax-temporary-reduced-rates)

These rates apply to both first-time buyers and buyers who have owned properties in the past. As you can see, the tax only applies to the amount one pays on a property starting from £500,000 and upward.

Rates for the purchase of additional properties:

From the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stamp-duty-land-tax-temporary-reduced-rates)

The rates above apply to buyers who already own one property or more. The tax applies to the price of the property starting at 3% from £0 to £500,000.

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