Biggest house sales pipeline in a decade in UK's red hot property market

·3 min read
STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: A man walks past a street of terraced houses advertising properties To Let on March 03, 2021 in Stoke-on-Trent, England. UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the return of 95% mortgages to help first-time buyers. He also announced that house buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty for a further three months with the scheme ending on 31st June 2021. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
A rush to market has created the busiest housing market in the UK in the past decade. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The housing sales pipeline in the UK has hit its busiest point in a decade, as buyers rush to market before the end of the stamp duty holiday deadline.

There are now 704,000 sales currently going through the conveyancing process across Great Britain, the highest over the past decade, according to the latest data released on Wednesday from property portal Rightmove.

Alongside this, more than 700,000 homes are marked Sold Subject to Contract and going through the sales process, the highest number Rightmove has recorded over the past ten years and 78% higher than in May 2019.

New research among buyers expecting to benefit from the stamp duty holiday has found only 4% would abandon their plans to buy a property if they missed either the June or September deadline in England.

One in four said they would try to renegotiate the price with the seller, while 13% said they would plan to buy a cheaper home.

At the start of the year the sales pipeline across Great Britain stood at 613,000, but the frenzied market over the past few months has led to homes being marked as sale agreed at a quicker rate than they are completing.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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“The easing of restrictions, extended stamp duty holiday, better mortgage availability for first-time buyers, race for space and relocation plans have all combined to create the biggest conveyancing logjam we’ve ever recorded over the past ten years," said Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister.

"We really hope those who had at least four months to make it through to completion will make it in time to beat the first stamp duty deadline, but with the tapering until September many will still make some savings so all will not be lost."

While there are many buyers who will be trying to make sure they meet the June deadline, new Rightmove research among buyers hoping to buy by this September in England has found that the stamp duty holiday is not the biggest motivator for moving.

Only 29% of this group said they expected to complete in time to make use of the stamp duty holiday. The most common reasons for moving are to move to a bigger home, if someone comes across the right property, relocating to the countryside or the coast, and moving to a home with a garden.

Read more: UK average house price hits record high in May

Of those who are expecting to make use of the stamp duty holiday, only 4% said they would abandon their plans completely if they missed either the June or September deadline. Over half (53%) said they would go ahead as planned, one in four (25%) said they would try to renegotiate with the seller, and 13% said they would plan to buy a cheaper home.

Of the 704,000 sales going through, 220,000 were marked as Sold Subject to Contract between July last year and the end of February this year in England and are yet to complete. The current average time from sale agreed to completion is four months.

Watch: What do stamp duty cuts mean for buyers and house prices?

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