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House sales hit highest level in 33 years ahead of stamp duty deadline

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Property sales in June surged to their highest level in 33 years ahead of the stamp duty deadline.

HM Revenue & Customs recorded 213,120 residential transactions last month, a jump of more than 216pc on June last year, when the market had just reopened after the first lockdown.

The number was 109pc higher than the level recorded in May, as homebuyers rushed transactions through before the impending stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of the month. Buyers had until June 30 to save the maximum amount of £15,000 in tax.

It is the highest monthly figure recorded since October 1988 and the sixth highest in the past 40 years, according to analysis from estate agency Savills.

Lucian Cook, of Savills, said the numbers showed how a pre-announced stamp duty measure distorted market activity.

He added: “That impact has been magnified because of an urgency among buyers in the middle to upper part of the housing market to upsize given their experience of successive lockdowns, further fuelled by an ability to lock into low mortgage rates.”

Borrowers are now able to access Britain's cheapest-ever deals after lenders slashed rates for those with large deposits. Earlier this month TSB and HSBC launched deals at 0.94pc – the cheapest mortgages since records began.

Sales in June exceeded the surge recorded ahead of the initial stamp duty deadline in March of this year, and experts predict another spike before the final deadline closes in September.

Anthony Codling, of property website Twindig, said: "The tapered tax break figure of £250,000 is more in line with average house prices across the UK, which means there are lots of homebuyers who will still benefit from the stamp duty holiday.

"We therefore expect to see another spike in transactions in September, although given the reduction in the stamp duty holiday benefit we expect the spike to be lower than those seen earlier this year in March and June."

The super-prime market in London recorded its strongest half a year since 2014, according to Savills. In the first six months of 2021 there were 237 transactions completed in the capital on properties worth £5m or more.

The figure is 61pc higher than the same period in 2019, despite the fact this part of the market is fuelled by international buyers who were stymied by closed borders.

Savills has predicted the prime central London market will grow by more than 21pc by 2025, despite ongoing restrictions on international travel.

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