Last month was the strongest March since 2007 for home sales, with 80,000 properties sold, according to Your Move’s house price index.
House price growth accelerated to 6.9 per cent annually compared with 6.5 per cent in February – with a typical home now worth £18,745 more than a year earlier.
The London market also took off again, with the fastest growth of any region as house prices rose 8.2 per cent (£44,548) year-on-year.
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Richard Sexton, director at e.surv chartered surveyors, put the Spring surge down to the impending stamp duty hike.
It said: “The surge was widespread across England and Wales, with a 30 per cent upswing in transactions since February. This goes beyond any normal seasonality, with second-home and buy-to-let investors rushing to beat a bigger tax bill.”
E.surv’s mortgage monitor added an average 71,710 of house purchase loans that were granted across the first three months of 2016 – the highest opening quarter total since 2007 – which saw 116,898 granted.
However, March saw a monthly dip in lending, as some landlords were too late to beat the stamp duty surcharges coming into effect on 1 April. The month saw 67,173 overall house purchase approvals (seasonally adjusted) – 9.1 per cent lower than the 73,871 seen in February.
Meanwhile, confidence in the UK housing market is at its lowest level in over a year, according to the latest quarterly Halifax research. The latest fall confirms a downward trend since a high point in May 2015, and comes as consumers feel increasingly uncertain about the wider economy.