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Your September market update

The end of the stamp duty holiday and transactions leap up — we've got it all in your September market update.

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The property market keeps making big headlines — and it can be difficult to keep track of what those headlines actually mean. That's why every month at Strike, we break down what the news means by looking beyond what you see in the headlines. We look at how what's happening in the market affects real buyers and sellers, so you can make the right decision for you.

This month, we look at the end of the stamp duty holiday and the huge jump in property transactions that we saw in August. Both have been getting a lot of coverage in recent months, but it's not always easy to see what they mean for the market — and for the average home mover. Let's get started.

The stamp duty holiday deadline — again

It's finally happening — at the end of this month, the stamp duty holiday is coming to a close. After extensions and tapering, from October 1st stamp duty rates will return to normal. A lot of people are wondering what effect this will have on the market — as the big savings attached to the stamp duty holiday encouraged lots of movers. That means a lot of demand — and demand is exactly what seems to be keeping prices at their current heady heights.

But not everyone is as convinced that the stamp duty holiday was driving the huge rise in prices. Research from the Resolution Foundation found that the stamp duty holiday would provide the least savings in areas where demand rose the most — and they also noted that transactions hadn't slowed down since the stamp duty holiday started to taper (we'll look at transactions more in a minute).

We'll have to see what the market brings. Either way, probably the most important thing to remember for buyers and sellers is that as stamp duty holiday rates return to normal, you need to make sure to budget ahead. Everyone buying a home has to pay stamp duty — and if it's a second home or an investment property you'll have to pay a higher rate. It can add up to thousands — or even tens of thousands — so be sure to check out our stamp duty guide so you can plan ahead.

That being said, looking at the year-to-year transactions can be more helpful. Transactions this August were 20% higher than they were last August, showing that the post-lockdown boom seems to be going strong."

Transactions take a huge leap

Speaking of transactions staying high — headlines were buzzing with the HMRC figures, which showed property transactions jumped by a staggering 32% between July and August. Now, that feels like a huge jump and, to some degree, it is. But it's important to see that number in context.

Firstly, as we mentioned this is the last push before the stamp duty holiday, which means there are a lot of transactions being rushed through at the last minute. So it's not a surprise to see a final leap in numbers.

Secondly, numbers have been doing a lot of jumping in both directions. That 32% figure is comparing August to July, but in July transactions were actually down 63.8% lower than in June. So you can also see this month as just regaining some of the losses from the month before.

That being said, looking at the year-to-year transactions can be more helpful. Transactions this August were 20% higher than they were last August, showing that the post-lockdown boom seems to be going strong.

"We’re witnessing another flurry of activity as buyers and sellers rush to compete before the final stamp duty savings are removed this month, with properties valued under £250,000 still benefiting from the relief," Sam Mitchell, Strike CEO said.

“But the strength of the UK housing market goes well beyond fluctuations around changing tax policies, and we see little sign of it slowing down in the months to come despite the stamp duty holiday finally ending.

“There are still other incentives on offer, like the uplift in 95% mortgage offerings and record low interest rates. Plus, people are continuing to reassess their needs in a home due to increased remote working, with more space and rural living proving to be more in demand than ever before.”

There you have it. The biggest news of the month has to be the stamp duty holiday coming to a close — but to really see how that affects the market, we'll just have to keep an eye out in the coming months. It looks like there are plenty of other big factors keeping the market heady, but nobody can predict the future.

So we'll be back next month, to talk you through everything you need to know.