The temporary stamp duty holiday is due to end on March 31, but campaigners and buyers are asking for a six-month extension due to transfer delays and fear it will hit the housing market badly.
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Annual house price growth slowed for the first time in six months as the end of the stamp duty holiday neared, according to an index.
House prices rose 6.4% per year in January, marking a slower increase than the 7.3% increase recorded in December, the Nationwide Building Society said.
Property values fell 0.3% over one month.
In the UK, the average house price was £ 229,748.
A temporary stamp duty holiday that was introduced last July is due to end on March 31.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide chief economist, said: “Home prices fell 0.3% month-on-month after accounting for seasonal effects – the first monthly drop since June.
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“To a large extent, the slowdown likely reflects a decrease in demand before the stamp duty holiday ends, prompting many people considering a move to move their purchase forward.
“Although the stamp duty holiday does not expire until the end of March, activity is expected to weaken long before that, as the buying process typically takes several months.
“The typical relationship between the housing market and broader economic trends has broken down over the past nine months.
“This is because the housing needs of many people have changed as a direct result of the pandemic, with many choosing to move to less densely populated locations or property types, despite the severe economic downturn and uncertain prospects.”
He continued: “Going forward, changes in housing preferences are likely to continue to support the market.
“However, if the stamp duty holiday ends as expected and labor market conditions continue to weaken, as most analysts predict, housing market activity is expected to slow, perhaps sharply. , over the next few months. “
Samuel Tombs, UK chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Looking ahead, we continue to expect house prices to fall by around 2% during 2021, provided government policies do not not change. “
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Mark Harris, Managing Director of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The booming housing market is starting to show the first signs of a downturn …
“The next few months will be interesting. As we approach the deadline to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, lenders are navigating a fine line between the need for volume and market share versus risk appetite and service.
“There are a number of cuts and changes to rates and products as lenders face unprecedented circumstances. However, with interest rates unlikely to rise anytime soon, mortgage rates should remain competitive. “
Jeremy Leaf, North London real estate agent and former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: Missing the property they’ve set their sights on. “
Will the stamp duty holiday be extended?
The debate over extending the stamp duty exemption traveled to parliament on Monday after an online petition collected more than 100,000 signatures.
Carshalton and Wallington MP Elliot Colburn said relief sparked a real estate boom, with deals 32% higher than this time last year. He argued that the holidays have helped keep the market afloat.
It comes after a report from mortgage provider Paragon warned that 51% of cases could collapse, while 42% of buyers could not proceed with their purchase if they missed the deadline.
Elliot Colburn described four options the government could consider to support buyers at risk of losing:
Move the deadline to an arbitrary new date
Consideration of relief on properties already at this stage of the process
Decrease in relief based on housing price eligibility over a period of several months
Maintain the threshold at £ 500,000 at all times
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton and chairman of Hunters Estate Agents, said a “cliff edge” would have a counterproductive effect on the economy.
He said one option could be to make exemptions for those who are already at an advanced stage of their transaction.
That, he suggested, could be anyone with a mortgage offer in place by the end of February.
Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane abbott called for a local extension due to a cyber attack that prevented his voter from producing a full investigation to local authorities last year.
Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, acknowledged the difficult circumstances facing buyers, real estate agents and transport agents.
Any extension announcements are expected to take place until the Chancellor’s budget on March 3.