On Wednesday, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that stamp duty tax would be suspended for all home purchases in England and Northern Ireland for purchases of properties under £500,000, potentially saving home buyers a combined £1.3 billion. The statement seems to have spurred on an already buoyant market with OnTheMarket.com delivering a record number of leads to its customers. The challenger portal reported sales leads up by 12% on Wednesday and valuation leads up a whopping 19%. Rightmove also reported a veritable tsunami of traffic immediately after the government announcement with visits jumping 22% in the first half-hour. Commenting on the figures, a Rightmove spokesperson said:
“The number of people phoning and emailing estate agents about property for sale hit a new record on Wednesday, up one per cent on the previous record set on June 11 and up 93 per cent on the same day in 2019.”
The latest house price report from Rightmove also suggests that the lockdown period actually drove more demand in the market. A survey of around 5,000 movers from the site found that a mere 7% of vendors took their property off the market because of the pandemic and that 28% who did not plan to move before have now decided to do so. Rightmove data also shows that the average price for properties coming onto the market now is up by 1.9% compared to pre-pandemic prices.