Sales of homes in the UK has hit almost £150 billion since the start of the year. That’s twice the value of property sold for the same period last year. In fact, the figure equates to one in every 50 homes on the market changing hands between January 1 and April 15 this year. 

Property portal Zoopla revealed the statistics this week, showing the health of the market to date. And it looks certain to stay strong for some time yet, even with the end of the Stamp Duty Holiday looming, say property analysts.

Derth of four-bedroom and family homes

The figures also reflect the desire to move to a larger property, with a severely depleted number of three and four-bedroom family homes currently available. The numbers have actually hit a five-year low, according to Zoopla’s research, with most regions reporting a 20% drop in such larger properties.

They are particularly low in Scotland where there is a 58% drop year-on-year on four-bedroom properties. As far as England is concerned, it’s 44% in the South West and 42% in North West and 40% in the South East, says Zoopla.

And, in fact, the number of homes overall currently available on the market at the moment is 19% lower than in April 2020. It’s not just four-bedroom homes that are suffering either. Property experts believe the government’s recent introduction of 95% mortgages will also lead to a shortage of one-and two-bedroom properties for sale.

Possible future shortage of starter properties

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla said: “More flexible working arrangements open up new opportunities for home owners to move to a further-flung location.

“At the same time, the rollout of the 95% mortgage guarantee will mean more demand from first-time buyers, fuelling demand without replenishing supply.”

Meanwhile a study into the effects of the Stamp Duty Holiday has prompted upmarket estate agency Knight Franks to suggest its ending won’t cause too much disruption to the market. That’s because it didn’t really have much effect on lower markets (ie under the £500,000 threshold), says the company’s head of research Tom Bill. He based his report on data from search portal OnTheMarket. 

He said: “With the holiday in place for nine months, buyers and sellers have increasingly factored in the need for price flexibility. All of which suggests the brakes will be dabbed rather than slammed on when the stamp duty holiday eventually ends.”

Glasgow has busiest property market in UK

At the moment those locations with bustling property markets include Glasgow, Bristol, Middlesbrough, Stoke and Nottingham.

The biggest property price increases have been found in Northern and Midlands cities, such as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and Leicester – all have more than 5% growth compared to April 2020.

Interestingly, there has been a short let-up in the carousel of property changing hands since the middle of April when lockdown ended in England. This is believed to be down to people catching up with family and friends first before then getting back to the business of property buying and selling.