New sales agreed have remained 38% higher than a year ago, according to the latest Zoopla House Price Index.

Zoopla outlined that the UK’s housing market is set for its busiest run up to Christmas for over a decade.

The property site anticipates 100,000 additional sales to complete before the end of March next year.

wales house price

House prices up 3% in Wales

The index shows that demand for housing has remained 34% higher year-on-year.

As a result of the increase to sales volumes and demand, house price growth is approaching an almost three-year high of 3.5%.

This represents a 1.2% increase annually, and Zoopla expects 2020 to conclude with house price inflation reaching 4%.

Harry Buchanan, director of Jackson-Stops’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, said: “This has undeniably been one our busiest run ups to Christmas on record.

“Whilst there is usually a rush of buyers wanting to be within their new homes to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, there is now an added pressure this year due to the looming SDLT deadline in March 2021.

“This, coupled with a revaluation of lifestyle preferences, has created a real surge in sales agreed this quarter.”

According to Zoopla, the scale of growth is partly accountable to the mix of homes transacting, with more sales in wealthier demographics at higher prices.

On a regional basis, the South East noted the greatest rise in completions, up 7% year-on-year.

This was followed by London, which saw a 6% rise over the same timeframe.

Zoopla believes that of the new sales agreed in January, just half are likely to beat the SDLT deadline based on evidence from the previous year.

Once the stamp duty holiday reaches its conclusion, the property company expects transaction volumes in the second quarter of 2021 to run at 20% to 30% below normal levels.

Overall, Zoopla expects house price growth to slow to 1% in 2021.

Richard Donnell, director of research and insight at Zoopla, said: “The high volume of sales agreed this autumn will spill over as completed sales in 2021 and this will support the overall number of sales completed in 2021 at 1.1 million.

“It has been a remarkable turnaround and completed sales look set to fall just 6% short of last year despite a two-month closure of the market in England.

“There are some challenges ahead as the country battles the impacts of the pandemic on the economy and day to day life.

“The impact on the housing market is less than in previous downturns as sales volumes have already fallen in recent years and affordability levels are far from over-stretched.”