UK house prices hit record highs and property transactions soared at the start of the year, as buyers and sellers rushed to complete deals before what was expected to be the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.
New figures released on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the average UK house prices increased by 8.6% in the year to February — the highest annual growth rate since October 2014.
The average house price was £250,000 ($347,400) in February 2021, which was £20,000 higher than February last year. The average home price now stands at a record high of £268,000.
The surge in activity came ahead of what was set to be the end of a Stamp Duty holiday in March. That month the chancellor extended the tax break until June.
March’s increase in the Stamp Duty threshold “turbocharged the housing market”, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Separate data from HMRC showed 180,690 transactions were recorded in March. This was double the total in March last year and the highest number since the government started publishing data in 2005.