This content is not available in your region

UK property sales halve after surging to beat tax break deadline

Access to the comments Comments
By Reuters
UK property sales halve after surging to beat tax break deadline
UK property sales halve after surging to beat tax break deadline   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

LONDON – The number of homes sold in the United Kingdom fell by more than half last month after the scaling-back of a tax break designed to encourage home purchases during the coronavirus crisis, official data showed on Tuesday.

Britain’s tax office said 73,740 homes were sold in July on a seasonally adjusted basis – 63% fewer than in June when buyers had rushed to complete sales before a COVID emergency tax break was reduced – although 4% more than in July 2020.

Sales were down 24% compared with the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak last year temporarily scrapped the stamp duty tax on the first 500,000 pounds ($685,550) of property purchases in England and Northern Ireland.

That full exemption expired at the end of June but buyers in England and Northern Ireland will benefit from a 250,000 pound exemption until the end of September.

A tax exemption measure in Wales ended in June, while Scotland stopped a tax break there in March.

Britain’s housing market has also been boosted by demand for bigger properties as more people work from home.

($1 = 0.7293 pounds)