Stamp duty holiday propels house prices to record high as buyers defy virus fears
PROPERTY prices soared 5.2pc in the year to August, hitting a new record high as the market shrugged off fears over Covid, according to Halifax data.
The jump takes the average selling price to £245,747 and is the strongest rate of growth since late 2016. A typical home now costs £12,206 more than it did a year ago.
However, with earnings under pressure and redundancies mounting, the house price index report warned it was highly unlikely current levels of price growth would continue. Russell Galley,
Halifax managing director, said that the buying frenzy had been stoked by pent-up demand from when the market was shut, a post-lockdown scramble for larger homes and the Chancellor’s temporary stamp duty cut. Surging prices have confounded early predictions of a crash in the wake of the economic havoc wreaked by Covid-19.
Halifax’s parent firm Lloyds warned in July of a worst-case 10pc slump this year.
However, most experts believe the rise is short term and are braced for turbulence in the months ahead when the stamp duty holiday ends and the taxpayer-funded furlough programme stops. A surge in job losses could yet send prices tumbling again.
Mr Galley said: “It remains highly unlikely that this level of price inflation will be sustained.”