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Property sales: record September sales as buyers race for the deadline

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  • Property sales jumped to 165,720 in September – up 59.7% from August (not seasonally adjusted). This is 67.3% higher than a year earlier.
  • This was the highest level of September sales since they were first measured in this way in 2005.
  • It’s significantly higher than any other September in the past decade – 52% higher than the nearest rival (2015).
  • Sales over the 2021/22 tax year so far are higher than any other year for the past decade (783,180).

HMRC published monthly property sales for September: UK monthly property transactions commentary – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown comments:

“We saw record sales in September, as buyers dashed for the stamp duty deadline at the end of the month. Sales were more than two thirds higher than a year earlier, and it was busier than any other September since they were first measured this way in 2005.

They were still below the peaks in March, when the stamp duty holiday was first due to come to an end, and June, when the tax relief was cut substantially. However, by this stage, the stamp duty saving wasn’t much to write home about: the most buyers could save was £2,500.

The fact we saw a surge at all shows the psychological power of the tax break. For those who had been locked in an incredibly frustrating housing market for months, and may have initially been aiming for one of the earlier deadlines, this was a final chance to at least get a small saving on the painful and expensive process of buying a house.

We expect to see sales slow from this point, reflecting the fact that agents reported a drop in buyer interest in August and a leveling off in September. We’ve also seen six successive months of drops in the number of properties coming to the market, so even if there were plenty of keen buyers, the property drought would keep a lid on sales.

However, we’re not expecting the market to come to a shuddering halt, because people are still reassessing how and where they want to live, and while mortgages are gradually becoming more expensive, they’re still at low enough levels to support activity in the market.”

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