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One in six homes is selling for more than the asking price as buyers scramble to complete deals before the end of the stamp duty holiday. The figure is the highest it has been for seven years, according to estate agents.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at NAEA Propertymark, said the boom was being fuelled by the stamp duty holiday, which means buyers pay no tax on the first £500,000 of a property's value until June 30th, as well as post-lockdown demand for more spacious homes. He added, 'The imbalance of supply and demand means it's an extremely strong sellers' market. Properties are selling quickly and for over the asking price and this is something we expect will continue in the coming months.'

NAEA Propertymark's research found that 16 per cent of homes sold for more than their asking price in March, the highest figure since May 2014. Each property was found to have 13 buyers chasing after it on average.

The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch last month was 12, which is also the highest for the month of March since 2007. And about 33 per cent sold for less than the original asking price, which is the lowest on record.

Campaigners have vowed to fight on after MPs failed to protect leaseholders from the crippling costs of the cladding scandal. They hit out at the 'indefensible' Fire Safety Bill, which leaves leaseholders liable to bills of up to £150,000 each for repairs.

It follows a parliamentary battle over who should pay to fix firetrap flats following the Grenfell disaster. Boris Johnson faced a major backlash over the bill. After several defeats in the Lords and two Tory rebellions in the Commons, it is now law. The bill means leaseholders are still legally liable for the cost of fixing unsafe cladding and other fire safety defects.

Campaign group End Our Cladding Scandal said: 'Yet again government has voted to punish leaseholders - also known as taxpayers and voters - for regulatory failings and dodgy developers who they allowed to prioritise profits over safety. We have the right to be angry. But the fight isn't over yet'.

More than than a million private flats are thought to be affected by safety defects identified after the 2017 Grenfell blaze in west London which claimed 72 lives.

Taxpayer funding was more than trebled in February to £5.1billion. but the cash is only for those living in buildings above 60ft with unsafe cladding. Ministers announced a loan scheme for smaller buildings, but hundreds of thousands of leaseholders may have to borrow up to £600 a year for repairs. Survivors' group Grenfell United said: 'The Government's position on this is indefensible.'

A Government spokesperson said ministers were prioritising the tallest blocks with the most dangerous cladding, but for lower-rise buildings the loan scheme would be capped at £50 a month.

Borrowers applying for a raft of new 95% mortgages will need squeaky clean credit histories, brokers warn.

Dozens of home loans, partially backed by the Treasury, are now available to buyers with a 5 pc deposit. Aaron Strutt, of broker firm Trinity Financial, says: 'To gat a 95 pc LTV mortgage, you're probably going to need a squeaky clean credit history. However, it is worth remembering that even if you get rejected by one lender, another still may take you on.'

Jane King, a mortgage advisor at Ash-Ridge, says: 'Most firms offering these 95 pc deals are High Street lenders, which are less likely to accept applicants with poorer credit histories. But if you have just one or two missed payments from three or four years ago, you may be ok.

Buyers looking to boost their credit scores quickly should make sure they are on the electoral role and that credit reports from agencies such as Experian are accurate. Misspelt names, addresses and incorrect dates of birth can negatively impact a credit score, but renters can also boost their ratings if they have kept up to date with payments to their landlord.

However, missing a mobile bill payment or a minimum credit card repayment could damage your score.

Nearly £150billion of house sales took place across the UK in the first 15 weeks of this year.

That represents almost double the value of homes sold subject to contract in the same period in 2020 and 2019, according to Zoopla.

The research also found that strong activity is reducing the supply of houses available. It said the total number of homes on the market and not yet under offer was around 30 per cent down in early April compared with average levels between 2017 and 2019.

Three and four bedroom houses have recorded the sharpest fall in supply.

Building your own home could become more mainstream thanks to Government plans to create a Gran Designs-style revolution by giving low cost loans to those who take the plunge.

A Help to Build scheme, supported by more than £150 million in Government funding, is designed to make building or customising homes a realistic option for Britons to get on the housing ladder through low deposit mortgages. It follows the popular Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers which began in April 2013.

As well as the self-build, the scheme will promote made-to-order homes that can be customised from existing designs. This could include more office space or features to support particular requirements for the disabled or elderly. The Government estimates there could be up to 40,000 self and custom built homes a year. 

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: 'Building your own home shouldn't be the preserve of a small number of people, but a mainstream, realistic and affordable option. The scheme will help the thousands of people who'd like to build their own home but who have not yet considered the option.'

MP Richard Bacon is reviewing how to boost construction of self-built homes, and will report in the summer.

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