House prices last month fell for the first time since June as the market approaches the stamp duty cliff edge.
The average price of a property dropped by 0.3 per cent since December to £229, 748. This brought the annual growth rate down to 6.4 per cent from 7.3 per cent, according to Nationwide.
The downturn will pile pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty holiday, which ends on March 31st. It comes after MPs warned on Monday that property sales worth billions were at risk of collapse as the deals may not be completed in time.
But experts said the dip was merely 'a dab on the brakes' following a period of frenzied activity. Robert Gardner of Nationwide said families were still looking for more living space and this demand will support the market. But he added that if the stamp duty holiday ends as scheduled, the market could fall 'sharply' in the coming months.
Around 100,000 buyers are set to miss the stamp duty holiday deadline, warned Rightmove. And a quarter of them will not continue with their purchase, claimed mortgage lender Paragon.
The property industry is to get its parliamentary debate on a Stamp Duty holiday extension after the Petitions Committee announced that MPs will be able to debate the popular e-petition on 1st February via a virtual debate.
This had originally thought to have been delayed after Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that the chamber in which e-petitions with more than 100,000 signatures can be debated was to be closed 'until further notice' due to Covid.
The Stamp Duty petition in question, which has been signed by over 125,000 people so far, asks for a six month extension to the Stamp Duty holiday for homes foe sale under £500,000.
Highest numbers for the month of December were recorded in the Housing Market Report for house hunters and sales agreed per estate agent branch.
Despite a fall of 41 per cent of the number of people looking to buy, the figure reported was the highest since December 2016, with people trying to take advantage of the stamp duty/LTT/LBTT holiday deadline.
The number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch stood at 348, down from 580 in November. This is the lowest number recorded since May, when the property market first re-opened, but the highest December figure since 2016.
Mortgage approvals for homebuyers hit a 13 year high in November, Bank of England figures show. About 105,000 home loans got the go ahead, up from 98,000 in October and marking the highest number since August 2007.
The surge in approvals meant that by November they were nearly at levels recorded in 2019, despite the housing market effectively being shut in March during lockdown.
Homebuyers have been motivated by the stamp duty holiday which ends on March 31st, as well as the desire to move locations.
Mark Harris, boss of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: "We expect mortgage rates to remain competitive into the spring."
The Bank said consumer credit contracted by 6.7 percent annually in November, a new low since records began 1994. Consumer credit includes credit card debt, personal loans and overdrafts.
Household deposits rose by £17.6 billion from National Savings and Investments accounts after rates were reduced.
So here we are, the start of a new year. It may not have started off in the way we all would have liked but we have to hope for better days to come.
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Everyone at Fox Estates wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.