"With the June deadline creeping closer, both lenders and brokers need to work collaboratively to ensure transactions are processed in time."
The latest SDLT statistics from HMRC show that total stamp duty transactions were 48% higher than in Q1 2020.
Total transactions in Q1 2021 were similar to those in Q4 2020 but 48% higher than in Q1 2020.
Overall, residential property transactions in Q1 2021 were 2% higher than in Q4 2020 and 53% higher than in Q1 2020.
Cloe Atkinson, managing director of Mortgage Engine, commented: “Today’s figures show once again just how frenzied activity in the housing market is. The release of pent-up demand for property has been super-charged by the stamp duty holiday extension. The tax holiday has certainly been a success by any metric and current activity levels are further proof of the resilience of brokers, lenders and borrowers alike. Over the last year, the virus has forced the industry to re-shape the way consumers buy property and led to a great deal of adaption and innovation to overcome the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic.
“Technology has been important for all parties in transitioning to this new way of completing purchases and the industry has seen a large increase in the use of tech solutions, such as remote viewings and automated valuation models. As the UK looks forward to the return of some pre-pandemic normality, tech-driven solutions will continue to be a vital part of the success of the mortgage market. A lot of progress has been achieved in the last year when it comes to tech adoption, but the industry needs to be ambitious and continue to build upon this momentum to provide better outcomes for its consumers.”
Lisa Martin, development director at TMA, said: “The first quarter of 2021 signalled a busy start to the year for the mortgage market – a fact which is reflected in today’s Stamp Duty Land Tax transactions statistics. We saw many more homebuyers and movers making their purchases and subsequently benefitting from the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday than during the previous quarter, which led to a further uptick in transaction figures compared to the end of 2020.
“While this demand is likely to continue over the coming months, it will also be interesting to see whether there is greater appetite from buyers to make the most of the stamp duty cut in certain regions, ahead of the initial deadline in June. For example, we may see a greater number of borrowers making house purchases in specific areas of the country where there’s the potential for better house price growth, while they can continue to save on stamp duty costs.
“Over the coming weeks and months, it will be vital for lenders and brokers to work collaboratively in order to ensure that all transactions are processed on time. However, while some buyers rush to take advantage of the reduction in stamp duty, many borrowers will be unsure about what mortgage options are available to them, and which would best suit their particular circumstances. For this reason, professional advice will be crucial. Advisers are well placed to discuss the various options available for borrowers, and therefore have a key role to play in supporting clients’ decision making."
Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven Bank, added: “It’s clear the stamp duty holiday has successfully injected energy into the market, but with the June deadline creeping closer, both lenders and brokers need to work collaboratively to ensure transactions are processed in time. For borrowers who want to prioritise speed, working with a broker and a specialist lender can give them access to a range of bespoke options. For some of these borrowers, short-term lending, such as bridging loans, could be an appropriate and often overlooked option.
“While the tax holiday has been beneficial for many buyers, it’s also important to remember there are many would-be borrowers who have been unable to take advantage of the tax break, because of the impact of the pandemic on their finances. Specialist lenders and mortgage brokers need to work closely to ensure these individuals have alternative financial solutions at their disposal. It’s vital that the end of various government support programmes doesn’t leave those who have been financially affected by the pandemic high and dry.”