House sales in the north up by 18.5 per cent in February as end of stamp duty holiday loomed

HMRC recorded 2,540 home sales in the north during February.
Ryan McAleer

The number of home sales recorded in the north during February rose by 18.5 per cent compared with a year earlier in the run up to the stamp duty holiday deadline.

The tax break, which has now been extended, had a much greater impact in England, with house sales surging by 48 per cent, according to the latest HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures.

HMRC recorded 2,540 residential property sales in Northern Ireland in February 2021. A total of 2,070 were recorded in the same period last year.

Month-to-month sales rose 11.4 per cent.

The stamp duty holiday for England and Northern Ireland had been due to end on March 31, but in the March 3 Budget the holiday was extended in its current form, with the "nil rate" threshold at £500,000, until June 30.

That threshold has had a smaller impact in Northern Ireland, where house prices are lower.

There will then be a "tapered" holiday until September 30, when the "nil rate" band will reduce to £250,000. From October 1, it will revert to the normal level of £125,000.

In Wales, a temporary increase in the nil rate band of the residential land transaction tax (LTT), the equivalent of stamp duty, will remain in place until June 30.

In Scotland, a temporary increase in the nil rate band of the residential land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) will end on March 31.

HMRC said the latest figures are likely to reflect taxpayers trying to file returns for completed transactions in time for the original stamp duty holiday deadline, before it was extended in the Budget.

It cautioned its estimates for the latest month are based upon incomplete data and so the latest figures may need to be revised in future.

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