As the stamp duty holiday on concessionary bandings finally draws to a close on September 30 2021, many across the UK hoping to make use of the discount rush to finalise their home purchases.
According to Openview – Powered by VTUK, a surge in demand must be accompanied by automation of tasks and transactions, linked to a seamless communications system, to make the process smoother, more efficient and faster.
The tax reduction has contributed to the bounce-back of the UK housing market, making purchasing a property more attainable, but as it ends transactions are expected to decrease in the short-term as some of the incentive to buy and sell is lost.
The stamp duty holiday effect
Since its inception in July 2020, hundreds of thousands of home movers living in the UK have benefited from the stamp duty holiday.
Initially, it was capped at £500,000, then reduced to £250,000.
September 30 2021 marks the final end of the stamp duty holiday; the threshold will return to pre-Covid levels of £125,000 after this date.
As the final push to get transactions over the line occurs in the coming days, good, reliable automated systems are going to be needed more than ever to avoid delays, fall-throughs and other issues.
Research from Deloitte has shown that automation technologies have risen from just under half (48%) in 2019 to almost three-quarters (73%) in 2020 in response to the pandemic.
Furthermore, 89% of organisations are using cloud infrastructure for their automation or aim to integrate this within their company by 2023.
Peter Grant, chairman and chief executive at Openview, explains:
“2020 was a breakthrough year in terms of organisations jumping on board with automated technologies.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, many sought methods to keep their processes operational and service levels consistent during such a busy period, because the property industry never closed, it just got busier.
There is no way of predicting how the market will turn after the stamp duty break, but automation will certainly grant agents complete control of day-to-day operational needs.
Incorporating rapidly emerging PropTech will help estate agents make that jump from struggling when reaching a certain capacity, to being optimistic and being able to take on more clients because the tools are there to do so.
The stamp duty holiday has taught us that organisation is key and automating effectively improves this.”
The level of market activity peaked because of the stamp duty holiday. A report conducted in July this year by the London School of Economics, entitled Lessons From The Stamp Duty Holiday, analysed the impact of the holiday on transactions and there were approximately 140,000 transactions associated with the well-received discount.
Automation keeps the agent one step ahead
Even once the stamp duty ends, activity and transactions are expected to remain high for the remainder of the year and automation will enable agents to get ahead of their competition.
Ongoing low-interest rates making mortgages more affordable, government schemes like the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme and continuing changes to buyer lifestyle and work trends will continue to drive the home moving and home buying process for many.
It is more crucial than ever for agents keep up to speed as the end of the stamp duty holiday is reached, and the technology on offer to estate agents is one of the best solutions to ensuring that transactions go off without a hitch, according to Openview.
“Thousands of homebuyers are rushing agents to complete their sales in time so that they benefit from the stamp duty tax break.
Although the stamp duty holiday returns to the threshold of £125,000 at the end of September, other incentives will remain meaning that reliable, cloud-based software should be adopted to assist the high volumes of transactions on the way,” Grant adds.
“Automation is a great asset that cannot be overlooked. It offers various strengths and capabilities that, when used correctly, can greatly benefit estate agents.
Even seemingly minor automation can make a big difference in the workforce and to the client.
Mastering the automation process from the outset makes actioning 24/7 enquires and transactions a breeze, even once the holiday ends.”