The UK’s Most-Affordable Areas

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The stamp duty tax holiday was introduced in July 2020 to help home buyers and stimulate the economy after the first COVID-19 lockdown. It means homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland do not have to pay any tax on the first £500,000 of the property price, instead of the usual first £125,000. The full tax relief ended on 31 June 2021, after which it was reduced down to £250,000 between the 1st of July and the 30th of September.

So, who took advantage of the full stamp duty tax relief, and which region is pushing for more affordable housing projects? Finding this information can help ensure you save money, if you’re preparing to move house in the last few months of the reduced stamp duty holiday. Packaging manufactures RAJA UK have also provided some helpful tips and tricks to make your next house move as stress-free as possible.

Who took advantage of the stamp duty?

This table about the quarterly Stamp Duty Land Tax showcases the residential transactions by thresholds and price band for each financial year from 2008-09 to 2020-21, rounded to the nearest 100.

Financial Year All liable transactions under £250K All liable transactions between £250K and £500K All liable transactions between £500K and £1 million All liable transactions between £1 million and £2 million All liable transactions over £2 million All liable transactions
2008-09 266,300 113,000 24,300 5,300 2,100 411,000
2009-10 229,000 135,000 29,600 6,200 2,200 402,000
2010-11 288,400 150,800 36,400 8,200 3,000 486,700
2011-12 292,600 150,200 37,000 7,500 3,100 490,400
2012-13 373,800 160,900 39,800 8,500 2,800 585,900
2013-14 470,500 208,900 53,900 11,600 3,800 748,700
2014-15 494,200 251,400 65,900 13,800 4,300 829,600
2015-16 456,400 303,200 83,800 15,000 4,100 862,500
2016-17 474,400 295,900 83,000 13,700 3,600 870,500
2017-18 434,800 306,700 90,800 15,400 3,900 851,700
2018-19 299,400 280,600 87,900 14,000 3,600 685,400
2019-20 290,200 279,600 89,400 14,900 3,600 677,800
2020-21 157,400 98,600 120,700 19,500 4,300 400,800
  1. There were 31,300 more transactions on houses between £500k-£1 million in 2020-21 than in 2019-20. These have been the highest levels in this bracket for the last 13 years. People who buy a £500k house before the end of September will only pay 5 per cent tax on houses priced between £250,001 to £925,000. Meaning that they would pay £12.5k instead of the £15k they would pay when the stamp duty holiday ends.
  1. 2020-21 saw 700 more transactions on houses that cost over £2 million than in 2018-20. Buyers will spend £151,190 on stamp duty tax instead of £153,690 when the tax relief ends.
  2. House sales in the range of £250k-£500 dropped by 181,000 in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

Where to go to make the most of affordable housing

The stamp duty holiday was implemented to incentivise people to move as well as to reduce barriers for people looking to buy their next home. Residential Start on Sites and Affordable Housing Starts on Site are key economic indicators that determine the number of new residential construction projects that have started in a certain time. We investigated which region has the highest number of Affordable Housing Start on Sites (residential construction projects) to help you plan your next move. Targeting your move to those that have more Affordable Housing Starts on Site can help you make the most of the last leg of the stamp duty relief, and even when it is over.

A table of the percentage delivery of Affordable Housing Starts on Site, by region.

Region   2020-21 2019-20
North West 24 per cent 17 per cent
South East 18 per cent 24 per cent
East of England 13 per cent 16 per cent
West Midlands 11 per cent 12 per cent
South West 10 per cent 10 per cent
East Midlands 10 per cent 7 per cent
Yorkshire and the Humber 9 per cent 8 per cent
North East 6 per cent 8 per cent
London 1 per cent 0 per cent

We can see that the overall housebuilding activity that had slowed down in 2019-20, has begun to pick up steadily in some regions of the UK. It increased in the North West of England by 7 percentage points, and the East Midlands by 3 percentage points. However, Affordable Housing Starts on Site have slowed down by 6 percentage points in South East England and 3 percentage points in the East of England. It appears that the West Midlands and the South West seemed to be operating at a similar level in 2019-20 compared to 2020-21.

Tips for a successful house move

No matter where your next move is, the process of moving can be extremely stressful. RAJA has provided tips to make every step of your house move as easy as possible, including specific steps for before, during and after your move.

  1. Before the move:
  • Declutter and donate – moving is the perfect time to declutter, so make three separate piles of things that you want to take, things you want to sell or donate, and things you need to recycle if they can’t be sold or donated.
  • Buy second-hand furniture – if you want to change up your style in your new home, opt for second-hand furniture before buying new. This way, you may be able to score cheaper furniture that still has plenty of life left in it.
  • Have a good cleaning routine – both your old home and your new home will need a good scrub, so make sure you have a cleaning check list and the right, non-toxic supplies for a thorough clean.
  1. During the move:
  • Have a plan – to make your day go as smoothly as possible, you’ll need to have a plan that you can communicate to friends, family or professional movers clearly. This can mean knowing what the parking situation is like, knowing what items are staying and what’s going to the charity shop, where certain boxes will belong and having proper childcare plans (if necessary).
  • Pack efficiently – pack your vehicle efficiently to reduce the number of trips that you have to make. From driving between your old and new house, runs to the charity shop, post office or the supermarkets, the petrol bill can add up fast.
  • Colour code your boxes – having a clear colour code for each box that correlates to what room it belongs in can help the movers know where the boxes go, and help you suss out where your essential items are when you’re ready to unpack.
  1. After the move:
  • Recycle or reuse your cardboard boxes – repurposing or recycling your boxes to ensure the longevity of their lifecycle can help reduce your carbon footprint. Chances are, someone else is also moving home soon so, if possible, pass on your moving supplies to someone else or recycle them so they can be made into something new.
  • Prioritise the important stuff – it can be overwhelming when your new home is covered in boxes, so start with unpacking the boxes that you use the most and will make the biggest impact. This includes setting up your bed for the night, and unpacking the kitchen, bathroom and cleaning supplies.

Whether you’re looking to get onto the property ladder or are climbing up a step by upsizing to a new one, buying a home is an exciting time. However, moving home can also be an incredibly stressful time. With a clear plan and the right packing products, you can make your next move as stress-free as possible.