Sellers have put their homes up for sale to cash in on the stamp duty holiday frenzy that is gripping the nation, new data from a major UK property website shows.
Rightmove says sellers in commuter towns in the south east of England have seen the biggest annual rise in new listings since Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new stamp duty tax holiday as a result of the pandemic.
On 8 July, the Chancellor announced that sellers with homes worth up to £500,000 would enjoy the tax holiday until 31 March 2021.
A buyer frenzy has since followed, with figures from Rightmove highlighting that demand for homes is outstripping supply despite tens of thousands of sellers coming to market in the southern commuter belt.
Sellers market: South East commuter towns are in high demand and sellers have the upper hand as property has been snapped up at a rapid rate
Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: ‘We always knew that the stamp duty holiday was going to be a big incentive for people to get moving this year, and it’s certainly sparked a home-moving frenzy across commuter towns in the south of England.
‘Thousands of sellers are being tempted to come to market in these areas for a number of reasons.
‘Firstly, lots of buyers stand to make pretty sizeable savings thanks to the stamp duty holiday – particularly in the southern commuter belt – so now seems as good a time as any to press ahead with home-moving plans.’
Top five areas for number of homes coming up for sale
The top five areas, all in the southern commuter belt, have seen the number of new properties coming to market double compared with the same six-week period in 2019.
Commuter towns with quick links to bigger cities have been shown to be in the highest demand.
Sellers in Harlow in Essex have been the keenest to come to market, with the number of new listings up 121 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Jake Latch, sales negotiator at Reyland Johnson Estate Agents in Harlow, said: ‘The stamp duty holiday has been absolutely massive for the Harlow market and we’ve been ridiculously busy over the past few weeks.
‘We’ve been rushed off our feet since the market reopened but I don’t think we ever expected to be this busy.’
Latch added: ‘It’s given people the incentive to take the plunge and move home, and for many people it’s a bit of a no-brainer given the potential savings they can make.
‘Harlow is a gateway town; it’s a typical commuter town and with lots of people not having to commute into London anymore, people are taking advantage of a buoyant market to make their next move. Our available stock is really mixed too, so not everyone is moving completely out of Harlow.’
The stamp duty holiday, which applies to properties under £500,000 has resulted in an increased demand in south east commuter towns such as Harlow, Wickford, St Albans, East Grinstead and Basingstoke
The top five comprise of Hertford (up 113 per cent), Wickford (up 105 per cent), St. Albans (up 100 per cent) and East Grinstead (up 98 per cent) make up the top five, which are all within a 70-minute train commute of Central London.
Agents operating in these towns have been inundated by calls and emails as demand, according to Rightmove, is massively outstripping the growth of available stock. Buyers are forced to react quickly to as there’s a rapid turnover of properties for sale.
Sellers have the distinct advantage as demand has increased by at least 50 per cent year-on-year in each of the top ten locations, but available stock cant keep up with the demand, meaning. Despite the new stock coming on, there is still an imbalance.
Glynis Frew, CEO of Hunters, added: ‘South east commuter towns have always been popular due to their proximity to the capital; however, years of price growth mean they have been slightly out of reach for many people.
‘The stamp duty holiday has helped to offset this so it’s little surprise to see the markets hotting up as buyer budgets can go slightly further.
‘These towns are typically within a 90-minute commute of London and are even more attractive now with the rise of flexible working with people only needing to go into the office a few times a week. As a result, sellers here will now be looking to capitalise on the increased demand that allows them to make their onward move.’
National hike in demand for homes
Elsewhere, demand for homes is up too. Nationally, demand has risen by 61 per cent compared to the same period last year, while the top performing regions are the South East (up 74 per cent), and East of England (up 72 per cent). Across all regions the percentage growth in demand is outstripping the growth in new supply.
Tens of thousands of home sellers are taking advantage of the frenzy created by the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday with almost 94,000 new listings coming on to the market across London, the South East and East of England. This was recorded between 8th July and 16th August, which is over 31,000 more than the same period in 2019.
This latest data follows a Rightmove study from July which revealed that homes priced between £400,000 and £500,000 in the southern commuter belt have an increased chance of selling as this is where buyers are set to make the biggest savings thanks to the stamp duty holiday.
Tens of thousands of home sellers are taking advantage of the frenzy created by the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday with almost 94,000 new listings coming on to the market across London, the South East and East of England.
Seeking a better quality of life
The coronavirus pandemic has also fuelled the demand of larger properties out in the countryside as lockdown has created the need to shift away from smaller properties in major towns and cities where the quality of life and outside space is minimal.
Shipside added: ‘We’re also seeing a growing trend of people looking to move out of urban areas and into smaller towns, with homeowners in built-up areas reassessing their housing needs and looking for places with more outside space.
Commuting has also become less of a priority.
Shipside said: ‘Lastly, proximity to a station doesn’t seem to be as important as it once was, meaning sellers in these commuter towns are looking to move a little further afield as working from home becomes a more permanent way of life.’