Hopefully, the party will continue for the England football team post the wins over Germany and the Ukraine recently. It begs the question whether the same can be said of the residential property market following the higher tier element of the current stamp duty holiday ending on June 30.
Well party may not be quite the right word but in the short term, it seems likely the current market optimism will continue. There are some who believe the end of the lower tier stamp duty holiday on September 30 will result in a cliff edge end to the recent bull market. I disagree and for some fairly fundamental reasons. Any marketplace is a function of supply and demand. At present for the majority of property types, there seems to be ongoing demand and clearly much of the recent boost in sales has been driven by the opportunity to save tax. However, there has not been a corresponding number of new instructions coming to the market, so a shortage of supply. The result has been a hike in prices as widely reported this week by the likes of Rightmove and The Nationwide. Inevitably when a shop sale comes to an end, an element of buyer enthusiasm disappears, and more normal trading conditions return. This may well be the outcome in the latter part of 2021 but in the meantime, many agents need to restock their instruction shelves. So, if you are thinking of selling, there is a window of opportunity to capitalise on agents who all report having buyers who cannot find what they want, who remain keen to purchase and willing to bid accordingly. Buyers haven’t stopped looking just because a relatively small saving in tax is disappearing. Witness the numerous viewings of a farmhouse to modernise I am selling near Ripon where we are going to best offers next week and it looks like we may have the same scenario developing on a Harrogate townhouse.
So, I’m confident we have a market place that will remain robust over the next few months especially when you add in continuing low interest rates, and business recovery post Covid. And maybe a feelgood factor if England win the Euros?
And what of the stamp duty deadlines on the life of an estate agent. The last month has probably been the most bizarre of my career. Fraught, frantic, frustrating, annoying, stressful and exciting are just a small selection of adjectives that come to mind. These plus at times some choice expletives have been said to me by others who have been party to property transactions in recent weeks. When a deadline really is a deadline, as set by HMRC, it has focused the minds of many and perhaps proved the process of buying and selling a house in England does not have to be long and drawn out. To the couple moving from the south of England who told me last week they have lost out in best offer scenarios five times, stick at it because Yorkshire really is a great place to live. To the three anxious buyers I know who simultaneously exchanged and completed late on Wednesday afternoon, congratulations. And to all involved in the buying and selling process, remember there is another stamp duty deadline at the end of September.
Tim Waring FRICS is Head of Residential. 01423 730700 listerhaigh.co.uk