July marks the first month following the tapering of the stamp duty holiday. In more normal times, the weeks and months after a stamp duty cut was reversed would be notably quiet, with many moves having been brought forward to take advantage of the holiday. But this time around it seems unlikely the market is on course for a particularly painful hangover.
Although most buyers who had offers accepted in May or June are likely to miss the 30th June stamp duty deadline, the indications suggest that pricing has continued to strengthen. Despite setting records in April and May, June was another month where sellers achieved even more of their asking price. Across the country, last month the average seller achieved 100.5% of their asking price with sales being agreed at a similar level so far in July.
Similarly the average time on the market continues to drop, with 10% of homes sold nationally within 24 hours of launch. The average time to sell in June was 22 days, falling to 21 days during the first week of July. And for the fourth month running, it remains slower to sell a home in London than in any other region of the country. The Midlands and the North take top spot.
The strength of the current market is built on both a lack of stock and buyer registrations that have not dropped off as much as in the months following previous stamp duty holidays. Hamptons registered 17% more buyers last month than in June 2019, although numbers were around 10% down on 2020’s stampede when the market first reopened.
So what does this mean for the coming months? We expect the pace in markets across the Midlands and North, which are the focus of current record levels of activity, to slacken as we approach September. This is when the stamp duty holiday comes to a final conclusion. But markets across the country remain unified by a lack of sellers, with the number of homes for sale down 30% on five years ago. While buyer numbers may moderate, a lack of stock will continue to underpin prices.