Stamp duty break 'not main incentive' for buyers

Stamp duty break 'not main incentive' for buyers
Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A mere three in 10 home purchases are motivated by the stamp duty holiday, indicating the market could remain strong after the tax break ends in March, according to information portal Moving Home Advice.

A survey of 1,000 homebuyers in January saw 29 per cent identify the stamp duty holiday as a main motivation for buying at present. Almost four in 10 (37 per cent) said they had always planned to buy, regardless of the current climate.

According to the information portal, the findings suggest the housing market will remain strong throughout the next 12 months.

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Russell Quirk, co-founder and property expert at Moving Home Advice, said: “Despite the stamp duty holiday having a clear and positive impact on the housing market, this survey proves that it is not the only thing underpinning the market as many would have you believe.

“As such, if it does indeed end on March 31st, it will not be the catastrophe that many are thinking because there is far more at play.”

Mortgage approvals for house purchases remained at a 13-year high in November, according to Bank of England data.

At the time John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, said he anticipated the market would keep performing well despite expectations of a drop in activity as the stamp duty holiday deadline draws near, citing a change in priorities as more are working from home and a desire for green space.

Dominik Lipnicki, director at Your Mortgage Decisions, agreed that most people would not purchase a property “purely” because of the stamp duty holiday.

He said: “The majority of property sales since the first lockdown were due to pent-up sales as the market was effectively paused for a few months and the fact that some realised that they would prefer a different property if lockdown is repeated.”

Mr Lipnicki added that with the average stamp duty bill falling by £4,500 during the tax holiday and a maximum saving of £15,000, the figures alone were unlikely to make people purchase a property.

However, an October/November survey of 550 advisers by Guardian found the majority (81 per cent) saw a spike in mortgage demand due to the stamp duty holiday.

The protection provider also found 72 per cent said their mortgage sales had grown, compared to 48 per cent who said the same for protection sales.

Jacqui Gillies, marketing and proposition director at Guardian, said: “[This] research shows a discrepancy between mortgage and protection sales last year which poses a big opportunity for advisers as they go into 2021."

A separate survey for the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries last year found that 58 per cent of mortgage advisers had seen ‘no real change’ in their protection business since the start of the pandemic.

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