he number of homes sold in the UK leapt 24% year on year in January, as buyers rushed to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
New provisional figures from HM Revenue & Customs estimate UK residential transactions in January of 121,640. That is 24.1% higher than a year earlier and 2.4% lower than December 2020.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said the decline between December and January showed that the “market paused for breath in reaction to further restrictions and another lockdown”.
However, a number of estate agents reported a busy period last month as people tried to complete deals before the stamp duty holiday finishes at the end of March.
There has also been pent-up demand as people reassessed housing needs during lockdowns.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Strike, said: “With the stamp duty holiday ending in just one month's time, the final countdown is now officially on.”