UK property transactions cool down in May as stamp duty holiday comes to an end

There were 114,940 residential property transactions in total in May

UK property transactions are down in May, as the end of the stamp duty holiday appears likely to bring about a cooling of the housing market.

Last month there were 114,940 residential property transactions in total, as confirmed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 3.9% down compared to April 2021, a month before.

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House prices have soared over the past 12 months as the stamp duty holiday was introduced by Rishi Sunak.

However, as the end of the policy draws near, the evidence is suggesting that sales are beginning to slow down.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike commented: “Despite property transactions easing in May for the second month in a row, numbers remain well above pre-pandemic levels with buyers and sellers scrambling to complete before the stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of this month,” said Mitchell.

“Now with only days left until the stamp duty holiday deadline, we expect property transactions to skyrocket, similar to the frenzy we witnessed in March before the original deadline. Some may be expecting a drop after the stamp duty holiday has come to an end, but with the tapering off period until October and the Government’s lending scheme combined with low interest rates, there are still plenty of factors to keep the market bubbling into the Autumn.”

“Plus, with the extension of lockdown restrictions announced last week, buyers will no doubt still be considering a home that matches their new lifestyle, whether that’s somewhere with more green space or perhaps closer to family.”

John Eastgate, managing director of Property Finance at Shawbrook Bank, added that “re-mortgaging levels are therefore also likely to receive a boost as homeowners and investors choose to fix and secure another few years of low rates.”

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