The impact of both the coronavirus pandemic and the HMRC Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday have together produced significant changes to seasonal property sales trends during the financial year 2020 – 2021.

Perhaps surprisingly, the provisional seasonally adjusted estimates from HMRC of the UK’s residential transactions in December 2020 is 129,400, a figure which is a staggering 31.5% higher than December 2019 and 13.1% higher than November 2020.

Following these just released monthly transaction statistics, David Whittaker, CEO, Keystone Property Finance has commented:

“Demand for property continued to surge up until the end of the year, fuelled by the stamp duty holiday as the industry battles to get borrowers over the line before the March 31st deadline.

“Traditionally, we would see transactions plateau in December as homebuyers wait until the new year to move, however, 2020 was anything but traditional and bucked the trend with volumes standing at 13.1% higher than November, a 31.5% increase year on year.

“The buy-to-let sector has been buoyant in recent months and new data from Moneyfacts.co.uk highlights the optimism in the market with nearly 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage products available, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

“However, challenges remain for buy-to-let investors as they navigate recent regulatory changes. Mortgage brokers will play a vital role in helping landlords understand the market and the find the right mortgage for them and we are committed to working with brokers to ensure the market meets the unique needs of every buy-to-let landlord.”

One example of the bouncy in the property market is that in Manchester which has just seen its busiest December in a decade.

New listings were 8.87% higher compared to this time last year, says estate agents Bentley Hurst:

Despite a difficult 2020, Bentley Hurst says its December “Manchester Property Index” reveals that the property market in Manchester continues to show “tremendous resilience”, with record levels of sales being agreed in December.

Manchester has seen an abundance of new homes emerge onto the market, with 2,882 new listings in December alone, up 8.87% on last year. The city also saw 1,732 sales agreed, as homebuyers endeavoured to make the most of the stamp duty deadline in March.

Buyer enquiries were 11% higher than they were at the start of 2020, despite almost a year of tough tier and lockdown restrictions.

In addition the rental market has continued to boom, with rental property enquiries up 22% from the start of 2020, and rental values are projected to increase by 5% over the next five years, meaning there’s never been a better time to consider letting a property.

This comes after research from Zoopla found that tenants are paying up to £984 PCM for one-bedroom properties in Manchester, £1,200 PCM for two-bedroom properties, and £1,699 PCM for three-bedroom properties.

James Favas, director at Bentley Hurst, says:

“The property market in Manchester is busier than it has been in a long while, and we have a lot to be excited about as we move into 2021.

“December is notoriously a quiet month in property, so to see new listings outperforming our usual seasonal trends just goes to show the strength of the market. Even lockdown and tough tier restrictions haven’t slowed the market down.

“Capital growth is increasing year on year with a projected growth in the region of 20% over the next five years, so we see this as only the beginning of a property boom in the area.”

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