COVID-19 GUIDANCE

For those looking to buy a new home, a stamp duty holiday applies until March 31 next year, as we’ve reported previously.

Meanwhile, if you have a property to sell, Bloomberg reports that UK house prices could grow by up to 3% throughout the rest of 2020, driven by both the tax break and resurging demand in the wake of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, in London new sales agreed jumped by more than a quarter (27%) in the two weeks after the announcement of the stamp duty holiday.

At the same time, one major national online property portal said prices in July are on average 2.4% or £7,640 higher than they were back in March, while buyer queries were up 75% across the UK in comparison with last year, and the number of sales agreed during the month is 15% more than in 2019, leaping more than a third (35%) on the day after the announcement about the stamp duty break.

Equally, nearly half, or 44%, of homes on the English market since May 13 when estate agents reopened have already been marked as ‘sale agreed’, in comparison with 34% for the same period in 2019.

And, given that market in the other UK nations reopened after the English one, for anyone in a chain involving Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish buyers or sellers, values there are only set to increase in the weeks and months ahead.

Beat the stamp duty holiday deadline

It’s worth noting, however, that while next spring may still seem a while off, it’s nearer than you think, especially given how long a property transaction process typically takes.

The ‘holiday’ ends on 31 March 2021, and while there’s always the chance that it could be extended, that is by no means guaranteed. Therefore, all sales would need to be completed well ahead of the deadline if you want to take full advantage of the stamp duty saving.

That effectively means that you need to find your buyer before Christmas to give yourself enough time to complete the legal process ahead of the spring deadline.

Equally, if you don’t want to rush things, or, for example, you want to make some improvements to your home to increase its value before you put it on the market, it’s time to start thinking about doing that now.

It’s definitely worth working with an estate agent to help you decide which home renovations and improvements can best help to boost the value you of your flat or house in the current marketplace and according to the area where you live.

What’s more, the surge of interest that we’re seeing now, in the wake of lockdown easing, may not last as the longer-term economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic potentially start to be felt next year.

So while it may be easy to find a buyer for your property now, that may not necessarily be the case by next year.

How we can help

At Oakfield Estate Agents, we’re delighted, but frankly not that surprised at the current buoyancy of the UK’s housing market. We’ve been very busy ourselves for months, even during lockdown, with queries and virtual viewings before things opened up again.

Since lockdown eased, we’ve been busier than ever, with enquiries and sales brisk across all our branches in Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill. And we’re pretty confident that’s set to continue for the rest of the year. We’re finding sales are being agreed speedily, and the best properties being snapped up quickly.

We’d urge anyone considering moving, either due to a relocation for work or for any other reason, to get in touch as soon as possible.

Our sales director Kerry Newstead commented: “We definitely agree with what others are saying that you have less time than you think when it comes to taking advantage of the current stamp duty pause.

People should remember that you need to allow enough time to complete a sale in full ahead of the deadline to feel the benefit of potentially saving thousands of pounds in tax payments. And we certainly wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on that. So while the holiday may be available until March 31 next year, getting everything sorted by Christmas is actually far more realistic.”

Oakfield works with buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords across East Sussex. Get in touch and get the ball rolling on your next move, sending an email to us in the first instance.