UK housing market set to exceed 1 million sales in 2020

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UK housing market on track to exceed 1 million sales this year, the latest figures suggest.

Fresh analysis of data from TwentyCI by Savills shows that the level of residential property sales being agreed have dropped by around 12% since their highs over the summer and early autumn, which in part reflects less fresh stock being brought to the market at this time of the year.  However, they still remain well above levels seen in the same period last year, particularly in the market over £500,000.

HMRC data released last week revealed that 121,740 residential sales were completed in the month of October alone, 24% up on September’s figure and 14% higher than the same month last year.

The figures, which are non-seasonally adjusted, point to the highest monthly level of transactions since March 2016 when investors rushed to beat the 3% stamp duty surcharge, and the highest figure since November 2007.

That suggests the experience of the second lockdown has reaffirmed people’s changed housing priorities, which is likely to support activity through to the end of the stamp duty holiday, according to Savills.

Lucian Cook

Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research, said: “The numbers of sales now reaching completion reflects the high levels of sales that were being agreed between the first and second lockdown, when the market was being fuelled by a combination of pent up demand and substantially increased activity from those looking to trade up the housing ladder given their experience of living and working from home.”

Cook added: “While transactions in the year to date are 18% below last year, it now looks as though they will exceed 1m for the year, something pretty much unthinkable six months ago.

“The extent to which progress in securing a successful vaccine impacts on some of the behavioural changes behind the surge in activity levels remains to be seen.  That will ultimately depend on the lasting impact of Covid on our lifestyles.”

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