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UK - Housing demand breaks October record as stamp duty scramble continues

No visible signs of the property market easing on its traditionally-seasonal brakes just yet. The latest figures released by NAEA Propertymark have revealed that prospective buyer numbers reached the highest ever recorded for the month of October.

According to NAEA Propertymark's October Housing Report, the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch reached 451, a fall from 525 in September.

However, this is an increase of 32% from October 2019 when there were 341 house hunters on average per branch.

The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 12 in October, a small decrease from 14 in September. This is the highest figure recorded for October since 2006. Year-on-year, the number of sales per branch has increased by 50 per cent, rising from eight in October 2018 and October 2019.

The number of sales made to FTBs stood at 21 per cent in October, rising from 19 per cent in September. Year on year this is a fall of six percentage points from October 2019.

The number of properties available per member branch stood at 39 in October, falling marginally from 41 in September.

In October, seven per cent of properties sold for more than the original asking price. This is a marginal fall from September when 8% of properties sold for more than the original asking price. The majority (58%) of properties sold for less than the original asking price in October.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, comments: "Typically, we see the property market slow down as we approach the festive period and people put their sale on hold until the New Year. However, the pressure of completing sales ahead of the Stamp Duty holiday ending means that we have seen the number of potential buyers and the number of sales completed remains unusually high for this time of year.

"This boom has been hugely beneficial for the housing market; however, we are increasingly concerned about the impact of the stamp duty cliff edge on 31st March 2021. This cliff edge has already increased pressure on service providers within the industry, causing delays for buyers and sellers, and could cause thousands of sales to fall through at the final hurdle as buyers realise their sale will not be completed ahead of the deadline."


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