SDLT Holiday: The Aftermath
Friday, December 3, 2021
Friday, December 3, 2021
Credit: 28 Days Later. Photo by Sundance/WireImage
It’s 1 October. The morning after the 18 months before. In scenes contrasting with the opening pictures of the film 28 Days Later, I half expected to awake to our city centres strewn with the bodies of conveyancers, ties wrapped around heads and clutching bottles of whatever had been their poison the night before. It was a time for celebration, after all.
Alas, the reality was something more subdued and akin to a collective sigh of overwhelming relief; something which I could hear in the voices of all my counterparts with whom I spoke to that Friday. After two false dawns, the Stamp Duty Holiday had finally come to a close.
But what now for the property market and us long-suffering Conveyancers? And have we learned anything over this arduous period which could perhaps stand us in better stead to not only serve our clients more effectively, but also ourselves? I’d argue, yes (hopefully).
The property market – are there any cliff edges in sight?
The property market in 2020/2021 could arguably be summed up in two words: extremely volatile.
In a recent article published by Zoopla, they are predicting circa 1.5 million sales will have taken place by the end of 2021. The reason for this is perhaps a perfect storm of cheap mortgage rates and stamp duty holidays all set against the backdrop of a global pandemic, which saw previously happy city-dwellers seek to escape to greener, more open pastures.
Such high demand for property has led to a steep increase is prices. Indeed, 2021 is on track to be the strongest year for sales and house price inflation since 2007. According to the latest Office for National Statistic’s house price index, the average UK house price was £264,000 in August 2021, which is £25,000 higher than a year ago.
History tells us that once property prices have risen, they rarely go down which makes for an expensive 2022 for potential buyers. So, with no stamp duty holiday to take the sting out of rising prices, are the doom-mongers right and can we expect the property market to ‘drop of a cliff’ in 2022?
Whilst predictions are notoriously difficult to get right, I believe that there is much to be optimistic about. The Stamp Duty Holiday was, of course, a major driving force in the surge of property transactions; however, there have been other significant influences on the market which will continue long into 2022.
Demand is still outstripping supply, which, according to Zoopla, is up 30% on the five-year average. Furthermore, market analysts are predicting there to be a swathe of potential buyers, pockets swollen with saved commuter costs following the work-from-home revolution.
Whether we like it or not, the pandemic will leave a lasting legacy. The shift in attitude toward the way in which work from both businesses and employees alike, is a huge motivating factor in driving activity in the property market. Buyers are seeking more space to allow for hybrid and full– time home working and this is a pattern expected to continue through 2022.
In a recent survey conducted by Zoopla, 22% of UK households remain ‘eager’ or ‘very eager’ to move home in the next 18 months as a direct result of the pandemic, with 46% of those polled citing the reason for wanting to move as their current home not being suitable for requirements.
With this is mind, and using the momentum generated from the Stamp Duty Holiday, the outlook for 2022 may not be as glum as initially thought.
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