House sales hit 13-year high last month on stamp duty cut

House sales hit a 13-year high last month as buyers frustrated by the lockdown took advantage of cuts to stamp duty. 

In a sign that the property market roared back to life over the summer, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said average sales per branch hit 13 in July. 

That was the highest figure since June 2007 – not long before the last financial crisis – when 13 sales were also recorded at each estate agent. And it was 44 per cent higher on the same month last year. 

Boom: Demand was boosted by a tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month

Boom: Demand was boosted by a tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month

Boom: Demand was boosted by a tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month

However, just 8 per cent of houses sold for more than the asking price, while 60 per cent sold for less. The rush of sales followed months of lockdown that saw the market in a deep freeze. 

Demand was boosted by a tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month – with no stamp duty to be paid on the first £500,000 of house sales until March next year. 

Before the tax break, stamp duty kicked in at £125,000, or £300,000 for first-time buyers.

NAEA chief executive Mark Hayward said: ‘It’s positive to see the market continuing to boom with clear interest from both buyers and sellers. 

‘Usually we would expect a lull in activity during the summer. However, demand remains unabated with no signs that this will not continue. With the stamp duty holiday, we expect the market to remain busy for the rest of the summer.’

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