Stamp duty receipts surged to £1,196m last month, making March the fifth biggest month since the tax was introduced in 2003, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

In total, £8.7bn was paid in stamp duty in the 2020-21 tax year, despite a temporary 0% rate for up to £500,000 being in force since July.

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “These numbers are surprising, but anyone in the industry will know how frenetic it has been over the past few months.

“The original March deadline for the holiday would have driven a lot of people to get their house moves through last month.

“That has clearly boosted activity across the market as these tax receipts indicate higher value homes, second homes and rental properties have been exchanging hands.

“As the holiday has since been extended, we can probably expect to see this busy period continue for a while.

“Increased market activity is of course always good news for brokers, and we understand the need for speed when it comes to answering phones and dealing with queries.

“Processing cases swiftly means brokers can move on to the next piece of business while keeping strong relationships with both existing and new clients.”