The Daily Telegraph

Buyers urged to act quickly to seal stamp duty holiday

- By Marianna Hunt

HOME BUYERS have been warned to get deals agreed early if they want to make the most of the temporary stamp duty holiday, with agents swamped by record numbers of purchases.

Summer is usually a quiet time for the property market, as buyers become distracted by holidays, and asking prices fall. But, last month featured the highest number of house sales for 10 years and record asking prices in seven out of 12 regions, Rightmove has said.

Miles Shipside, from the property website, warned that record levels of demand would pile extra pressure on mortgage lenders and conveyance­rs, who may struggle to cope with the increased workload. “Not only are we seeing an unusually busy summer period, but also parts of the lending and legal sectors are having to cope with capacity constraint­s, as some staff will still be on furlough while many will still be working from home,” Mr Shipside said.

“To minimise the risk of missing the March 31 stamp duty deadline, it’s best to plan well ahead,” he added.

Prior to the pandemic, the average time between agreeing a sale and moving in was around three months, according to Rightmove.

Devon and Cornwall are among the destinatio­ns where asking prices have hit record highs, as home buyers ditch London for countrysid­e hotspots.

The biggest jump in activity was for larger, top-end homes, for which demand increased by 59 per cent.

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