HMRC has reported that the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate for UK residential transactions in the second quarter of 2021 totalled 428,620, the highest second quarter total since records began in April 2005, and the highest quarterly total since the third quarter of 2007.
Transactions in June 2021 increased 216.1% year on year, although June 2020 figures were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven, said: “Property transaction figures remain robust, demonstrating the rigour of the housing market and enduring demand from buyers. Undoubtedly, government support such as the Stamp Duty holiday have contributed towards the property market flourishing in the face of challenges posed by the pandemic. Indeed, today’s figures show the impact of the tax break as buyers rushed to complete ahead of the end of June deadline.
“The strength of the UK property market is reflected in the mortgage intermediary market. Since the beginning of the year, broker optimism has climbed, with Masthaven’s latest Broker Beat research showing 92% of brokers are confident about their prospects over the next 12 months, up from 87% at the end of 2020. But we are also, to use a phrase, in a new normal, and must remain mindful that there could be some bumps down the road that will require cross-market support.
“With the Stamp Duty holiday now tapering off, it remains to be seen what effect this will have on housing activity and the market should be braced for some volatility in the coming months – Broker Beat found that just over a quarter (26%) of brokers said that economic uncertainty was the biggest challenge their business is facing. The industry needs to work together to support borrowers who may be struggling financially as a result of the pandemic and are finding it difficult to secure mainstream finance.
“The proportion of ‘non-vanilla’ customers continues to grow and brokers need to help these borrowers understand the specialist solutions available to meet their circumstances. Covid-19 has changed the financial outlook for millions of people, so the industry simply can’t afford to snap back to the way things were and risk locking potential borrowers out of lending.”