A sharp rise in house prices have pushed more than four million homes into higher stamp duty or equivalent tax brackets during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new estimates from Zoopla.
Across the UK, 4.3 million homes have been pushed into a higher bracket since March 2020, meaning prospective buyers face paying increased taxes to move home.
In Wales, the land transaction tax (LTT) has replaced stamp duty and in Scotland the land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) is applied to property acquisitions.
The average price of a UK home has increased by around £29,000 since March 2020 to stand at £249,700, data provided by Zoopla shows.
Consequently, in the region of one and-a-half million more properties across the UK are now subject to stamp duty – or its equivalent levy – compared with two years ago.
Some 3.5 million homes in England and Northern Ireland have moved up into a higher stamp duty threshold, the property website said.
A further 815,000 properties have moved over property tax thresholds in Scotland and Wales.
The rise in property prices means that first-time buyers are now spending an average of £225,000 to purchase their first home – an increase of £27,000 compared with two years ago.
Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, commented: “Buyer demand has been very strong ever since the end of the first lockdown in 2020, and the start of this year has been no exception. This demand, coupled with constrained levels of supply has put upward pressure on pricing – with the average property now worth an additional £29,000 compared to March 2020.
“This has pushed millions more homes into higher stamp duty brackets, meaning that if they come to market, there is an additional cost for buyers.
“While homeowners who make a move will see the benefit from increased property values when they sell, new entrants to the market will have to find additional finance to fund a move – meaning the reliance on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ is likely to increase among first-time buyers. It also highlights the importance of first-time buyers having access to mortgage deals with smaller deposit requirements if they can meet the criteria for all other aspects of a mortgage loan.
“However, for some buyers there is good news as we have identified areas where there has been a notable rise in the supply of homes being listed for sale in the last month – giving potential purchasers more choice in areas such as Pendle in the North West, Elmbridge in the South East and the new city of Southend-on-Sea on the East England coast.”
Reflecting on the latest Zoopla report, Chris Druce, senior research analyst at Knight Frank, said: “While supply is now building, demand in the country market remains elevated. With headwinds building, the spring market represents a window of opportunity for both buyers and sellers.
“Supply ‘hotspots’ in the rural and semi-rural market include Stow on the Wold in the Cotswolds, where new instructions are up 82% in the four weeks to 27 April versus the five-year average; Hazelmere [up 61%]; Winchester [up 54%]; Oxford [up 47%] and North Surrey’s popular commuter town Esher [up 45%].”