Stamp duty holiday fails to offset cost of rising house prices

Home movers in England and Wales are saving an average £11,566 as a result of the stamp duty holiday, according to figures published by Halifax.

Despite the saving, however, the average house price for home movers has increased by £57,790 during the stamp duty holiday period – climbing from £373,537 in June, to to £431,327 in December.

Halifax’s figures showed that the proportion of home movers paying stamp duty on transactions dropped from 93% in the six months to June, to 26% in the six months to December, while the threshold has been temporarily raised from £125,000 to £500,000.

There was also a significant drop over the same period in the number of first-time buyers paying stamp duty – from 29% to 10% – although Halifax highlighted that these are predominantly concentrated in London and the South East. During the holiday period, 67% of home movers in London paid stamp duty on their home purchase, followed by the South East (39%) – figures that were down from 100% in both regions.

The smallest proportion of home movers who paid stamp duty was found in the North (4%) – down from 74% before the holiday. This was followed by Yorkshire and the Humber, from 84% down to 8%, and in the East Midlands, which moved from 93% to 10%.

Halifax also highlighted that while movers have saved money on stamp duty, they have faced the challenge of even bigger deposits – an average £11,558 – due to the increase in house prices during that time.

Those who moved home in London have lower upfront costs of around £12,188, as the amount of deposit increased by an average £2,812 and was fully offset by stamp duty holiday savings of around £15,000.

However, London is the only region where the stamp duty saving has offset the rise in average house price deposits.

Halifax mortgages director, Andy Bickers, commented: “Since the summer we have seen a huge surge in mortgage applications, as people raced to make much sought after stamp duty savings.

“We know that lockdown restrictions have made it more practically challenging for those buying and selling, but the stamp duty ‘holiday’ has been one of the main drivers of continued demand for sales and purchases during the pandemic and we will wait to see if further steps are taken that could give people more time.”

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