When the property market reopened in mid-May last year, pent-up demand, combined with many people reassessing their housing needs following lockdown, led to a surge in buyer demand. Demand was further bolstered when, in July, the Chancellor announced a Stamp Duty holiday, during which the first £500,000 of most residential property purchases in England and Northern Ireland would be duty-free, until 31 March 2021. In Scotland, the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) threshold was increased from £145,000 to £250,00, again applicable until 31 March 2021.
Housing market activity robust towards the end of 2020
According to the latest figures from Nationwide, house prices rose by 0.9% in September and 0.8% in October, taking the annual growth figure to 5.8% in October, the highest rate since January 2015.
Nationwide also reported that a total of 91,500 mortgage approvals were granted in September, which is well above the August figure of 84,700 and represents the highest level since September 2007.
Elsewhere, Zoopla reported the size of the home sales pipeline to be 50% bigger than in the same period of 2019, with 140,000 more buyers rushing to buy a home before losing out on the Stamp Duty holiday.
Mortgage payment holidays
The mortgage payment holiday scheme had been due to end on 31 October, but when a second wave of the virus took hold, the scheme was extended, allowing borrowers who had not yet applied for a mortgage holiday to ask their lenders for a repayment break of up to six months.
Mortgage protection is important
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can happen and being prepared is key to ensuring our loved ones are financially secure. This includes mortgage protection cover – ensuring you have the right cover in place should be a priority for 2021.
We can help with your mortgage search and more
Finding a suitable mortgage and the right protection cover can be challenging, particularly in the current climate, but we can help. We can assess a wide range of mortgages and protection policies and advise on which best suit your circumstances.
As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.