Cumbria’s buoyant housing market during the second half of 2020 is set to continue, says the region’s leading building society.
The Cumberland said it was likely to heat up as some buyers focus on completing purchases before the end of the stamp duty holiday in March.
Lewis Benson, area manager at The Cumberland, said he was expecting the county’s housing market to ‘surge’ during the first three months of 2021 and remain healthy for the rest of the year.
The Cumbrian market has rebounded since the first lockdown ended in the summer, releasing pent up demand and with house sales allowed to continue under Tier 4 restrictions the trend is expected to carry on well into the new year.
Lewis said: “Whatever you think of it, the Brexit deal will give some stability and allow people and businesses to move forward confident that they know what is happening.
“COVID has a bigger impact on the market, but the signs are that the particularly buoyant few months we’ve had will continue. It will see something of a surge up to the March stamp duty deadline and there might be a little bit of a plateau then.
“Obviously we need to keep an eye on factors which might impact on the market such as a further tightening of restrictions or a significant worsening of the pandemic, but at the moment we would expect to see a healthy and active market through 2021.”
“A key factor is that we continue to see first-time buyers coming into the market who have been able to save up for deposits a little bit quicker than they might have expected because they haven’t spent on big luxury items like holidays during the pandemic,” he added.
Nationally around 100,000 additional house sales are expected during the first three months of 2021 and property website Zoopla says it was expecting its busiest Christmas ever.
Local experts believe Cumbria will be in line with this trend, adding nearly 700 extra sales during the first quarter.
The Cumberland said has also noticed an increase in the size of mortgage loans it has been arranging for customers which appears to be due to heightened interest in larger houses.
Properties with four bedrooms offer better options for people contemplating a longer period of homeworking and looking for an alternative to the kitchen table.
The building society said it had already seen exceptionally high demand for its 10 per cent deposit mortgages.
This was, in part, due to it being one of the first lenders to reintroduce these products after the first lockdown.
Lewis added: “We are fortunate in Cumbria to have a good selection of local house builders which helps ensure there is a really good mix of housing available.
“That includes affordable options for first-time buyers which the Government has highlighted as a priority. Perhaps the best way for the Government to help them and the housing market would be to extend the stamp duty holiday for a few months.”
From April, although first time buyers will not pay stamp duty under £300,000, homebuyers will pay two per cent stamp duty on properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000 and five per cent on those costing between £250,000 and £500,000 so for many homeowners completing a sale in time will make a big difference.