Lee Pickett, a real estate partner at global legal business, DWF, comments on the latest estimate figures. He said: "The HMRC data – albeit provisional - is an indicator of the strength of the housing market and the latest figures for December show the market remains active with continued growth.
"People are spending more time than ever in their homes and it's clear from the growth in transactions that many are assessing if their current property offers them all they need for home working and outdoor space. The current lockdown restrictions many of us are facing do not preclude valuations and viewings from going ahead; this has given the housing market a sustained boost which, spurred on by the current stamp duty tax break on homes under £500,000, is encouraging buyers to get their property on the market.
"But, as yesterday's ONS house price index showed, the average UK home is now priced at a record £250,000, not great news for many first time buyers struggling with affordability. When the current stamp duty holiday ends in March, we are likely to see a drop in prices and potentially a lowering in the volume of transactions as a result, which may be welcome respite for first time buyers."