Sellers are trying to ‘cash in on the stamp duty holiday’

There has been a notable increase in the number of homeowners trying to take advantage of the current stamp duty holiday by selling up before next month’s initial deadline, according to Yes Homebuyers.

The company’s founder and managing director, Matthew Cooper, has offered his views following the release of the latest Rightmove house price index, which shows that values are rising.

Cooper commented: “It’s clear that sellers are attempting to cash in on the stamp duty holiday themselves by reaching new highs where unrealistic asking price expectations are concerned. In doing so they’re also crushing the hopes and dreams of many would-be first-time buyers who will now find themselves well and truly priced out of the market.

“It certainly doesn’t help when this hysteria is being driven by the likes of Rightmove, who continue to pull ‘record’ market statistics out of their hat on a monthly basis, much like a cheap magician at a children’s party.

“Those hard-pressed to reach the first rung of the housing ladder may well have the last laugh though, as an already weary market continues to overheat. When the end of the stamp duty holiday does come and causes buyer demand to evaporate, we’re likely to see property values fall at pace.”

The managing director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, believes that asking prices continue to climb at an “alarming rate” and this upward pressure is being driven by a number of factors, and not just stamp duty.

He said: “Buyer demand remains extremely high and an appetite for larger homes is driving market activity. However, a lack of suitable stock to satisfy this demand is causing many to dig deep in order to offer above the odds and secure their desired purchase.

“At the same time, savvy sellers are realising that buyers are not only entering the market with a budget boosted by the stamp duty holiday, but they’re doing so amidst an air of panic with the deadline fast approaching. Therefore, many are pricing far higher than the market value of their home to take advantage of this desperation.

“While they will inevitably reduce this expectation during the offers stage, this additional wiggle room still enables them to secure a higher price than they may have otherwise.”

Managing director of Ascend Properties, Ged McPartlin, reflected upon the fact that northern regions continue to drive overall market performance with the North West and Yorkshire, in particular, steaming ahead with some of the highest increases in property values.

He said: “The property market balance has well and truly tipped in favour of the North in recent months, driven by the fact that northern regions continue to offer a far more affordable foot on the ladder for homebuyers.

“While the difference in property prices remains vast when compared to the likes of London, the north-south divide is certainly closing in terms of overall market pedigree.”

Meanwhile, the director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, is pleased to see the property market in London moving at a steadier pace than the rest of the UK.

He commented: “The market [in London] is moving at a far more sustainable pace and while activity is starting to build, transactions are being agreed in a more sensible manner.

“With the cost of buying at its highest in the capital, those that are transacting are in a strong financial position and so they simply aren’t as motivated by the incentive of the stamp duty holiday.

“While it’s certainly a nice cherry on top, it isn’t going to make or break their aspirations of homeownership and this more natural return to form will ensure a greater degree of long-term market health.”

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