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House prices a record high following extension of stamp duty holiday

House prices rose by 1.1% in March

House prices increased at the fast rate in half a year in March following the chancellor’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday, according to the Halifax house price index.

Property values rose by 1.1% last month, the largest increase in six months, and up from zero growth in February.

The average price of a home in the UK is now at £254,606, a record high.

The results of the survey provide an indication that the housing market in the UK is building momentum again following a mini slow-down in the lead up to the initial stamp duty holiday deadline in March.

Just over a month ago the chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to “stand behind home buyers”, extending the stamp duty holiday to June. The budget also included assurance that the government will guarantee mortgages up to 95% of a home’s value.

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Russell Galley, the managing director at Halifax, said: “The continuation of government support measures has been key in boosting confidence in the housing market. The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, whilst for those saving hard to buy their first home, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route on to the property ladder.”

According to Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the strongest momentum registered in the northwest, Yorkshire and the Humber, and Northern Ireland. 

Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman at RICS , said: “The number of buyer enquiries, sales agreed and transactions were boosted by the stamp duty extension after lockdown and the conveyancing backlog prompted a market pause. Faster rollout of the vaccine too has helped to encourage more appraisals and instructions but not at a fast enough rate to head off further upward pressure on prices in the traditionally busier spring market.”

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