September saw house prices rise at their fastest annual rate since the Brexit referendum of 2016, according to the UK’s biggest lender, Swindon-based Nationwide.
The average UK house price rose by 5% in September compared with the same month last year, to £226,129 – a record high. Broken down by region, the South West and commuter towns surrounding London recorded increases of more than 5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier.
At the same time, Bank of England data showed mortgage approvals during August rose to the highest level in almost 13 years.
Since lockdown ended, and despite restrictions being increased in parts of the country, the market is clearly buoyant, partly fuelled by the temporary cuts to Stamp Duty Land Tax.
The national picture is mirrored in Swindon, according to the property law team at Optimum, whose conveyancing instructions for people buying and selling property have been soaring in recent weeks.
Iain Mason, Head of Legal here at Optimum, says now is the perfect time to look to move. The Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday for properties below £500,000 expires on 31 March 2021, and the longer term economic outlook is uncertain, as the effects of the pandemic continue to take their toll.
However, heightened activity in the housing market could increase the risk of delays, and we’re urging buyers and sellers to do all they can to help the moving process along.
“The market may be frenetic but there are still some things that have not changed,” says Iain. “Searches need to carried out, and in Swindon there is a delay in this process due to the high levels of activity. The process is currently taking about five weeks, so this needs factoring in.
“If you are in a chain, it is as important as ever to keep in touch with what is happening at each stage – where people are with their mortgage applications for example.”
Iain also advises returning contracts as soon as possible (perhaps opting for special delivery instead the regular postal service) would help avoid delays. And he adds: “It is also important to make sure deposit monies are made available as soon as possible, so this doesn’t present any last minute problems.”
At Optimum, our legal team specialise in property law, wills and probate. If you are buying or selling a house in Swindon or the surrounding area, and want expert conveyancing advice, please get in touch.