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Nothing like it since before the crash – property sales soar ahead of Stamp Duty hike

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Wed 13 Apr 2016

Nothing like it since before the crash – property sales soar ahead of Stamp Duty hike

The property market sprang into life during March with the highest number of home sales since 2007, data from LSL Property Services this morning revealed.

Its latest House Price Index for March recorded 80,000 property transactions and found house prices had risen 6.9% year-on-year as buyers rushed to beat the Stamp Duty deadline in the buy-to-let and second homes sectors. When you take London prices out of the equation the price increase is 5.1%.

The sales figures are 18,650 higher than in February, an increase of 30%, and 7% higher than the typical ‘spring’ increase of 23% for the time of year, according to the report.

The average house price in England and Wales reached £291,650, according to the index. This is up 0.6% on February

The data shows 73% of local authority areas in England and Wales experienced a monthly upswing in home values.

On a regional basis, Bath and North-East Somerset saw the biggest boost of any local authority in England and Wales in March, with the value of homes in the city jumping 5.3%, or £18,603, month-on-month to £3371,712.

Meanwhile, the town of Luton continues to show growth with prices up 17.7% annually to £225,074.

Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, said: “This spring, with a frantic flurry of activity, the housing market has come to life. As a result of the impending stamp duty hike, this has been the strongest March for home sales in nine years.

“The surge was widespread across England and Wales, with a 30% upswing in transactions since February. This goes beyond any normal seasonality, with second-home and buy-to-let investors rushing to beat a bigger tax bill.”

He described the property price rises as “welcome news for home owners, who now have a fantastic opportunity in the current sellers’ market”.

Gill added: “The pervasive shortage of homes on the market is still driving up values, as buyers have to compete for each available property.

“If they are going to make it easier to get a foot on the property ladder, the Government will have to double-down on its help to first-time buyers, or let up on landlords.”