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Well, what a month it’s been! The UK property market is currently enjoying a continued boom with prices expected to continue rising in the coming months.

Here’s our round-up of some of the key headlines for May.

Average asking prices have reached a record high

According to listings website Rightmove, average property prices have reached an all-time high during May, with the average asking price now sitting at an impressive £333,564.

This represents a £5,767 increase from April or 1.8%, and this trend is predicted to continue well into 2021 as buyers take last-minute advantage of the extended stamp duty holiday.

The two areas that have seen the biggest increase are Wales and North-West England, where asking prices have risen by 13% and 11% respectively since March 2020.

London has seen the smallest increase, with the average asking price up by just 0.2% in the same period.

Demand continues to outstrip supply

The key reason why average prices have shot up in recent months is due to a large increase in buyer demand, coupled with a shortage of properties available.

Homes with gardens or at least some outdoor space, are in particularly high demand, as buyers that are perhaps fearful of future lockdowns look for extra space and fresh air from their next property.

The market has also been boosted by the number of buyers who have used the lockdown period to save more than they would have done in normal circumstances, leading to an increase on their initial budget.

The North-West is the UK’s ‘Property Hotspot’

Rightmove recently published a list of the 10 towns and cities across Britain that have seen the biggest increase in asking prices over the past year, and seven of those are in the North-West.

Wallasey in Merseyside is in the number one spot, where prices have increased 15.6% on average in the past 12 months.

The average property price in Wallasey is £176,707, which makes it an attractive proposition currently.

Eviction Ban on Renters to end on 31st May

The government’s ban on rental property evictions enforced by bailiffs will end on 31st May.

The ban was introduced during the coronavirus pandemic to help protect renters, particularly those with Covid-19 symptoms, or anyone who was self-isolating.

However, as restrictions continue to be eased, eviction notice periods will be reduced from the extended six-month period to four months from the 1st of June.

If restrictions continue to ease as planned, then this will be further reduced from 1st October, with the notice period usually being around two months.

Renters are Heading Back to the Cities

While buyers are increasingly looking for properties with more space in the suburbs, the opposite can be said for renters.

Listings website Zoopla has reported an increase in demand for rental properties in a number of the UK’s major cities, which has been fuelled by a drop in average monthly rents.

London has seen the biggest fall, with average monthly rent down almost 10% compared with 12 months ago. Smaller drops have also been seen in Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh, which has led to a steady increase in renters heading back to the cities as restrictions continue to ease.

Stamp Duty Holiday to End on 30th September

The stamp duty holiday that has been in place since last July will end completely on 30th September, the government has confirmed.

The tax break has been a key driver in boosting the property market during the coronavirus pandemic, with properties costing £500,000 or less having no stamp duty payable on them, as the government have fought to keep the property market going.

However, the pre-covid threshold of £125,000 will apply again from 1st October, with a phased decrease in place prior to this.

Many buyers are rushing to complete property purchases by the 30th of June, as the threshold will be lowered to £250,000 from 1st July, before dropping again on 1st October.

The stamp duty holiday has saved buyers up to £15,000 and has been largely credited with keeping the property market alive during the national lockdowns, as the housing market has thrived.

However, with the change in threshold from 1st October, along with the end of the government’s job retention scheme on 30th September, many property experts are forecasting a dip in the property market towards the end of the year meaning that now could be the ideal time to get your property on the market!