December 2020 is set to be the busiest month in the housing market in over a decade according to Zoopla. They report that house price inflation is expected to reach 4% by the end of the year but expect house price growth to slow to 1% in 2021.
Regionally, the South East saw the greatest rise in completions in 2020, up 7% year-on-year.
Zoopla suggests that of the new sales agreed in January, just half are likely to beat the SDLT deadline of the 31st March 2021, based on evidence from the previous year.
Nationwide figures show that annual house price growth reached a 5 year high in October 2020:
- Annual house price growth rises to 5.8% in October, this is the highest rate since January 2015
- Prices up 0.8% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors
- Average Price (not seasonally adjusted) £227,826
Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said:
“The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy. Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward”
- The Office of National Statistics The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 0.9% in October 2020, up from 0.7% in September 2020.
- The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 0.7% in October 2020, up from 0.5% in September.
As part of a £20bn overall government investment in long-term housing strategies, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed on the 25th November in his spending review speech, that the government is launching a £7.1bn Home Building Fund. The government initiative is intended to support the building of new homes, where they are most needed.
The Chancellor has also confirmed a £12bn investment for the Affordable Homes Programme.
The Government is replacing the existing Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme with a new scheme that is restricted to first-time buyers only and introduces regional price limits.
The current scheme allows both first-time buyers and homeowners to use the Government-backed Help to Buy Equity Loan to buy a new-build home. The launch of the new scheme will result in only first-time buyers being able to apply for the loan, which must be used towards buying a new-build property.
In the new scheme, first-time buyers will still be able to borrow up to 20% (40% in London) of the cost of a newly built home. The buyer must pay a minimum of 5% deposit for the home and then need a help to buy mortgage to fund the remaining cost of the property. The loan is interest-free for the first five years and then interest fees start at 1.75% and rise each year in April by the Consumer Prices Index plus 2%. Borrowers are charged a monthly management fee of £1 for the term of the loan. The new Help to Buy Equity Loan (2021-2023) is due to replace the existing scheme on 1 April 2021.
Regional price caps have also been newly introduced, meaning homes eligible for the loan must be below the set maximum price. First-time buyers wanting to use the Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2021-2023) can reserve their new home using the scheme from 16 December 2020.
Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital commented:
“The news of the new scheme is a positive one. It will help to support first time buyers enabling them to get onto the property ladder, especially first time buyers with smaller deposits who may face a much more limited choice of high loan-to-value mortgages.”