(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. property market is booming with the number of homes selling within a week more than doubling from last year as Britons scramble to cash in on a tax cut.
One in seven has found a buyer in fewer than seven days since Chancellor Rishi Sunak raised the threshold for paying stamp duty, a home-buying levy, to spur activity in July, according to Rightmove Plc. The market was effectively shut down when the U.K. imposed a lockdown in March, with viewings banned and transactions delayed.
Homes in London are the slowest to sell while Scotland is seeing the fastest sales, the property website said. The greatest demand is for three-bedroom houses.
The stamp-duty holiday, which is due to to run until March 31, has ignited a market that was already seeing huge pent-up demand following the reopening of the housing market in May. But many estate agents doubt that the momentum can be sustained, with fears mounting that the withdrawal of government support programs could trigger a wave of unemployment this year.
“Not only are more properties selling in the current market than at any time over the past 10 years, but many sellers are finding that demand for homes following lockdown and the rush to beat the stamp-duty deadline means they’re achieving a quicker sale,” said Rightmove Commercial Director Miles Shipside. Yet, “it’s still likely that demand will start to soften as it always does towards the end of the year.”
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