“Perhaps this shows the effect the stamp duty holiday was having, encouraging another sector of the market to take advantage of it, when first-time buyers were already enjoying the SDLT holiday.”
Although every region in the UK saw strong double-digit annual growth in the number of first-time buyers in the first quarter, the growth of movers has far outpaced that of all regions, according to the latest research from UK Finance.
Since the financial crisis, the number of people relocated had reached about half of their usual levels in 2005-2007. However, in the first quarter of 2021, activity jumped 82% compared to the first quarter of 2020, bringing volumes to a level not seen since 2007.
UK Finance says this market rebalancing has been “a particular consequence of the pandemic,” saying the current stamp duty holiday benefits movers and homeowners, while the majority of first-time buyers across the UK are already exempt.
The strength of this housing market response, coupled with employers adjusting their long-term homework policies, indicates “at least the potential for a more fundamental shift in home buying patterns,” according to UK Finance.
Should this trend prove to be more permanent and pervasive, UK Finance says it has the potential to ‘lead to other economic phenomena’, including a more uniform rebalancing of house prices across the country, as well as the revitalization of local main streets and larger economies.
While “exceptionally strong everywhere,” data shows the strongest growth in move rates has been recorded in the Southeast, where volumes are up 110% from a year ago.
After about nine years of uninterrupted price growth, half of all mortgage owners have at least 50% of their home equity, and another third have between 25 and 50%. UK Finance says this is particularly important in today’s environment and a key contributor to the strength of the moving business.
Data from the HM Land Registry suggests that at least some are cashing in their equity and buying directly, as the latest figures (up to December 2020) show a significant increase in the proportion of mortgage-free purchases across all parts of the UK. United. Data from UK Finance shows that many more are using their equity and mortgages to gain space, location and other desirable attributes in a new area.
Along with this unprecedented increase in the number of movers, the buy-to-let industry has also seen significant growth, with home purchase mortgages for rent increasing 59% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the previous year.
UK Finance says the stamp duty holiday has been a significant boost to demand in the buy-to-hire industry, where new purchases result in a 3% stamp duty surcharge for second homes on top of that the rate in effect for residential home buyers.
However, the surge in purchasing activity followed a broadly similar regional pattern to that of movers, with London and the other southern regions showing the strongest growth. This likely reflects the response of homeowners to increased demand from households looking to relocate for the same reasons detailed above for people who have moved, but who at this point are looking to rent property rather than buy.
Richard Pike, Director of Sales and Marketing at Phoebus Software, said: “This retrospective view of the first quarter of 2021 does not come as much of a surprise, but it is interesting that the number of first-time buyers was exceeded by movers across the country in the first quarter. This perhaps shows the effect that the stamp duty holiday had, encouraging another sector of the market to take advantage of it, when first-time buyers were already benefiting from the SDLT holiday. It also shows movement across regions as quality of life has become a priority during the pandemic.
“With the launch of the government’s ‘First Homes’ program, along with the availability of 95% mortgages and the new Home Buyer’s Assistance program, we could see the current imbalance between first-time buyers and movers. level out. As long as the new homes needed for these projects will continue to be built. “