House sales tumble as stamp duty holiday ends

UK house sales fell in July as people rushed to beat transactions before the end of the stamp duty deadline.

Transactions fell 62% to 82,110 in July, which was after a record month in June when transactions hit 213,370.

“We saw monumental growth in the volume of properties sold prior to July, in light of the rush to beat the deadline,” said Iain McKenzie, the chief executive of the Guild of Property Professionals.

Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the stamp duty holiday “didn’t create demand from nowhere. There was already a crowd of people ready to buy because of changes in how we wanted to live, and pent-up demand from the closure of the market during the first lockdown. The tax break just opened a window … through which this crowd of people tried to squeeze. Eventually this was extended and tapered, but it kept the pressure up.”

The stamp duty holiday was introduced in July 2020 to support the housing market. Whilst it was supposed to end in March, it was extended until July. It led to a mini-boom in the housing market, where house prices rose at record rates.