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Fastest summer housing market in five years ‒ Zoopla

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The end of the biggest benefits of the stamp duty holiday did little to quell the momentum of the housing market, with the summer months seeing the market continue to move at its fastest pace in five years.

That’s according to the latest house price index from property portal Zoopla, which found that the average time between listing a property and agreeing a sale continues to remain under 30 days, as it has since May. The firm noted that usually at this time of year, the time to sell would have risen to above 40 days. 

In addition, Zoopla pointed to buyer demand being 35 per cent higher than average levels recorded over the previous five years.

This heightened demand is continuing to push up house prices too, with Zoopla recording an average price of £235,000, the highest on record. Prices have now increased by £44 per day over the last six months, up from the £30 daily rise recorded in the preceding six months.

Looking at a regional level, Wales is seeing the highest rate of price growth at 9.8 per cent in the year to August, followed by Northern Ireland at 8.4 per cent and the North West of England at eight per cent.

In terms of cites, Liverpool continues to lead the way with prices up 9.8 per cent over the last year, ahead of Manchester on 8.1 per cent and Sheffield at 7.6 per cent. By contrast, London’s house price growth was recorded at just 2.2 per cent.

While the ongoing impact of the stamp duty holiday on house prices is open to debate, there’s no question it has boosted the Treasury’s coffers, with stamp duty receipts in July hitting almost £7bn, a new record.

Challenges ahead

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said that it was clear the ending of the stamp duty holiday had had little impact on buyer demand, with buyers still striving for properties that provide more space or allow for lifestyle changes.

She continued: “Balancing this however, will be the end of government support for the economy via furlough, and more challenging economic conditions overall, which we believe will have an impact on market sentiment as we move through Q4.

“We expect the market to remain busy compared to historical norms, and for price growth to remain in firmly positive territory at the end of the year, although lower than current levels of 6.1 per cent.”

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