Housing Report, December 2020

Housing market experiences busier than usual December due to Stamp Duty holiday

Key Findings:

  • Number of house hunters fell by 41 per cent in December, however this figure reached the highest number for December since 2016
  • The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch increased to the highest amount for the month of December since 2006
  • The number of sales made to first-time buyers (FTBs) stood at 23 per cent in December

Demand for housing

  • In December, the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch stood at 348, a 41 per cent decrease from 580 in November.
  • This is the lowest number recorded since May, when the property market first reopened following the governments’ lockdown. However, it is the highest number recorded for December since 2016.

Sales agreed

  • The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at eight in December which is a decrease from 13 in November.
  • This is the highest figure recorded for the month of December since 2006, when the number also stood at eight.

Sales to FTBs

  • The number of sales made to FTBs stood at 23 per cent in December, falling marginally from 24 per cent in November.
  • Year-on-year, this is a decrease of five percentage points from 29 per cent in December 2019.

Supply of available properties

  • The number of properties available per member branch stood at 33 in December, falling from 40 in November.

What properties sold for

  • In December, five per cent of properties sold for more than the original asking price.
  • This is a decrease from November when 10 per cent of properties sold for more than asking price.
  • The majority (67 per cent) of properties sold for less than the original asking price in December.

Quote mark

The number of potential buyers in the market fell significantly in December after Novembers’ record high. While we would ordinarily expect to see a lull over the festive period, these numbers show that the tightening of lockdown restrictions, coupled with the reality that many individuals would no longer meet the stamp duty deadline, has exacerbated this.

As we approach the stamp duty, LTT and LBTT cliff edges on the 31 March, we are increasingly concerned about the pressure this is placing on the property industry with more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of estate agents expecting to see an increase in failed sales due to buyers realising their sales will not complete ahead of the deadline. It’s important that action is taken now to prevent this and support the property sector

mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
Chief Policy Advisor 
Propertymark