House prices bounced higher in April as wealthy homeowners pushed through purchases to beat the stamp duty rise on properties over £1 million.
Since April 6, homes over £1 million have been attracting 5% stamp duty – prior to the deadline, any property selling above £500,000 was charged a rate of 4%.
As a result, the number of £1 million-plus property transactions accelerated to five times their normal pace last month, according to the latest LSL Property Services/Acadametrics research.
And as a consequence of the heightened activity at the top end of the market, the average price of a home in England and Wales rose by 0.3% during the month to £223,352.
It also means prices are now 0.9% higher than a year earlier.
At the same time, however, the bank holiday bonanza meant April was a relatively tough month for the property market.
The number of property sales completed overall fell by 6% compared to March.
The data also revealed prices declined in every region except London and the South East, where there is the highest proportion of £1 million plus properties.
"The onset of increased stamp duty for the highest priced homes meant that in the first five days of April there were as many transactions involving properties in this price bracket as there would normally be in the entire month," said Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv.
"Rising prices at the top of the market have held up property prices above the level the current market environment would have had us expect."
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