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UK property sales down 52% after rush to beat tax break deadline

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LONDON – The number of homes sold in the United Kingdom fell by more than half last month after the expiry of a tax break which sought to encourage home purchases during the coronavirus crisis, official data showed on Tuesday.

Britain’s tax office reported 76,930 residential property transactions in October, 52% lower than in September and 28.2% lower than October 2020.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak last year temporarily scrapped the stamp duty tax on the first 500,000 pounds ($668,600.00) of property purchases in England and Northern Ireland.

That full exemption expired at the end of June but buyers benefitted from a 250,000 pound ($334,075) exemption until the end of September.

A tax exemption measure in Wales ended in June, while Scotland stopped a tax break there in March.

Other data has shown house prices continued to rise in October, pushed up in large part by a shortage of homes on the market.

Britain’s housing market has also been boosted by demand for bigger properties as more people work from home.

($1 = 0.7483 pounds)

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