Door opens for many as Stamp Duty reform breathes new life into UK property market

haart sees 15% surge in buyer enquiries day after Autumn Statement announcement

  • Average UK property price up 7.8% annually and 0.6% on month to £205,421 – the highest in over two years
  • Average London property price dips 1.9% on the month to just under £500k mark – single figure annual growth only for first time in over a year
  • First-time buyer property price leaps 1.9% on the month to £168,178 and first-time buyer mortgages increased 11.8% on November 2013
  • Nearly 11 buyers chase each property for sale UK-wide

Paul Smith, CEO of haart, the UK’s largest independent estate agent, with a network of over 200 branches, comments:

“It’s taken the coalition government almost five years to reform Stamp Duty but at last they have listened to the industry just before the election! As we head into 2015 98% of buyers are set to make a Stamp Duty saving. The effect was immediate as we saw a 15% increase in enquires the day after the announcement as buyers who were previously reluctant to take a step onto or move up the property ladder suddenly had the door opened.

“UK property prices reached their highest levels in over two years in November 2014, up 7.8% annually, but our data shows a marginal cooling in the London market, with a 1.9% monthly drop in property prices and only single figure annual growth. However we are now optimistic for 2015 and while we may not see the market reach the giddy heights of the first half of this year, which is no bad thing, we predict that property price growth will remain strong and confidence will continue to ride a high as we approach the next election.”

National Trends

The average UK property price has hit its highest level in over two years, up 7.8% annually and 0.6% on the month in November 2014. This monthly increase is slightly lower than the October 2014 monthly growth of 1.2%.

First-time buyer property prices have been on a strong upward trajectory since August this year – see Graph 1 which shows a steep upward trend. This suggests that there is a disparity between supply and demand, with a lack of properties coming onto the market that are suited to the first-time buyer market.

Both the number of new buyers and volume of new properties for sale are down on an annual basis – by 18.6% and 6% annually respectively.

However, there are now nearly 11 buyers chasing each property for sale which is an increase on last month when 10 buyers were chasing each property for sale. Lenders are continuing to offer good, low mortgage rates to prospective buyers. With Stamp Duty reform we are likely to see this level of demand increase.

Along with the average first-time buyer purchase price, the mortgages that first-time buyer are taking out has also increased – by 11.8% annually and 2.2% on the month. The loan to value achieved is now 79.7%, an increase on 79% in November 2013 and it follows that the average deposit required has fallen 3.6% annually to £34,135. The age of first-time buyers has fallen again and now stands at 31.2 years – down from 32.2 years last year.

London Focus

The average house price in London increased 7.9% annually and while growth is still strong this is the first time in over a year that the annual house price increase has not been in double figures.

Despite this there are now 17.4 buyers on average chasing each new property instruction which is a marginal increase on October 2014. The market has now become more balanced as the number of new buyer registrations and first-time buyer registrations decrease on an annual basis but at the same time the volume of properties coming to the market is on the up. Graph 2 shows the level of first time buyer registrations returning to relatively normal levels following the busy peak of March this year. haart expect Stamp Duty reform to reverse this in December due to increased demand.

Today's Conveyancer