A Summary of Home Tracks August 2021 House Price Index Report

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In their August 2021 House Price Index Report, Home Track examines UK house price inflation, the limited impact of the tapered stamp duty holiday ending, and rapid market changes. 

Annual UK house price inflation at +6.1%

Average house price rose by +1.2% in the three months to the end of August, taking the annual rate of price growth to +6.1%, up from 2.8% in August 2020.

The average value of a home across the UK is now £235,000. For the sixth consecutive month, Wales recorded the highest level of price growth at +9.8%, followed by Northern Ireland (+8.4%) and the North West of England (+8%).

Price growth in Liverpool continues to be the highest among the UK’s major cities, with average prices up +9.8% in the 12 months to September. Manchester and Sheffield are also registering high levels of growth, at +8.1% and +7.6% respectively.

Despite its 2.2% average price rise, London’s house prices have lagged behind inflation by 2.2% since 2010. Following previous reports, the average home value has risen by a greater margin in regions where affordability is relatively greater in the face of the very strong buyer demand apparent since May last year.

Limited impact of tapered stamp duty holiday ending

A first “main” holiday of stamp duty ended at the end of June, affecting demand and sales numbers (sold subject to contract).

Around March/April, both metrics start to fall, as buyers are required to agree a sale by the end of June to take advantage of the stamp duty relief of up to £15,000.

Despite a slight slowdown in Q2, buyer demand remains higher than historical norms, although at more sustainable levels. Despite this, after analyzing late June and July to see how the withdrawal of the ’tilted’ stamp duty holiday will affect buyer behavior, there is little evidence of change in buyer behavior.

Buyers agreeing a sale from July onwards are unlikely to benefit from the savings of up to £2,500 available for completions made by September 30th due to the time taken to complete a sale.

Rapidly moving markets

If you examine how quickly homes are selling, you can further dispel any expectation of a slowdown after the stamp duty holiday ends. An agreement to purchase a property has been reached within 30 days on average since May this year.

With a lack of stock starting to have an increasingly self-limiting effect on the market, the measure of market speed may start to climb in the near future.

Still, Q4 will likely see more sales than usual as property prices increase.

A higher proportion of landlords are selling, indicating more housing is becoming available from the rental market, while the overall housing stock is lower than normal.

Outlook

Despite the tapering of the stamp duty holiday, buyer demand remains high and remains higher than usual for this period.

After successive lockdowns, buyers seeking space and looking to change their lifestyles have fueled the demand.

On the other hand, the end of government support for the economy through furloughs and a more challenging economic environment will be a balance, which will affect market sentiment throughout Q4.

Market activity should remain above past levels, and prices should stay in firmly positive territory by the end of the year, although lower than currently recorded levels of +6.1%.

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