The average house price has remained 9 per cent higher than the same time last year, despite a huge amount of sales currently going through the sales process making it unlikely for a sale to be completed before the deadline for reduced stamp duty.
According to Rightmove, around 100,000 sales currently in the conveyancing process will not be completed in time for the 31st March, the last day the reduced rates for stamp duty will be in effect.
Rightmove has reported the average time between an accepted offer and a completed sale is 126 days, or over four months, however in the short term this may not result in a huge change in house prices and sales activity.
Prices have started to lower slightly to remain competitive for buyers who are factoring the extra stamp duty expense for a few months, but given the current circumstances, people who wanted to move to have more space will still have that as a priority.
An interesting question is what happens to the 100,000 sales in the pipeline that will just miss the deadline and were made under the expectation of a stamp duty reduction.
Renegotiation may be necessary to ensure some of these sales do not fall through, but in other cases the changes in needs are a bigger factor in relocation than a lower rate of tax.