Estate agents say the housing market is set to cool during the run up to the stamp duty holiday deadline as both it and the national lockdown mute home moving activity, reports RICS.
RICS says agents reported the property boom continuing during the run up to Christmas but that activity had already begun to cool; buyers were still thick on the ground although 10% fewer than in November.
Growth in the number of appraisals softened too ut remained higher than in the comparable period of 2019.
Alongside this, agreed sales continued to increase, with +18% of agents reporting a rise, but again at a slower pace than in November.
The vast majority of agents say house prices rose last month, except in London where the ‘escape to the country’ exodus has muted demand.
“Although the housing market remains open for business in the midst of the latest national lockdown, there is a sense from respondents to the survey that the new restrictions will still impact on transaction activity over the coming months,” says Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist.
“This is most visible in the negative reading for sales expectations over the next three months when typically, with the expiry of the stamp duty holiday approaching, this series would be expected to remain firmly in positive territory.”
North London agent Jeremy Leaf (pictured) says: ‘Our expectations are that housing market activity will be sustained – but certainly not at the same frenzied pace we saw on the ground over the last few months of 2020.
“That’s partly because the overwhelming majority of sales agreed are still proceeding and prices are not being renegotiated.”