House sales edged up during January as an increased number of first time buyers looked to beat the stamp duty holiday which expires next month, new figures suggest.
Some 12 per cent more surveyors across the UK reported rises rather than falls in newly agreed sales since the beginning of the year, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ housing market survey published today.
From March 24, first time buyers will no longer be exempt from the one per cent tax on homes costing between £125,000 and £250,000.
In light of this, sales expectations for the coming three months are at their highest level since May 2010, RICS said.
However, house prices across much of the country continued to drop, albeit modestly.
The strongest price rises were recorded in London, while the West Midlands and Wales saw the biggest falls in property value, according to the data.
At the same time, there has been a small increase in the number of new homes coming on to the market.
Michael Newey at RICS said: “With first time buyers no longer exempt from stamp duty as of the end of March, it seems that some are looking to purchase homes before the deadline and, as a result, surveyors are relatively optimistic for the coming months.
“However, many problems with the market still exist and the lack of affordable mortgage finance is still preventing many from getting on to the property ladder.”