As homes go back on the market after the lockdown freeze, estate agents have reported a surge in demand with the number of buyer enquiries going “through the roof”.

Latest figures from property portal Rightmove show an increase in house prices and the number of transactions, with London asking prices up by 0.5% since lockdown began in March. The average cost of a home in the capital is now £641,854, a cash increase of £3,209.

The figures show buyer enquiries up 75% on the same period last year. And 44% of the homes, put up for sale since the freeze ended on 13 May, are now under offer with reports of transactions going to sealed bids.

Much of this demand is attributed to the announcement of a stamp duty holiday by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak in his summer statement on 8 July.

The move means buyers of homes costing less than £500,000, in England and Northern Ireland, will pay no stamp duty until 1 April 2021. The zero rate is also payable on the first £500,000 of more expensive properties, meaning savings of up to £15,000 on each transaction.

The boom has also been fuelled by buyers looking to change their home circumstances after the pandemic, with increasing demand for gardens and more space for working from home.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s director and a housing market analyst said: “The spring market has now picked up where it left off and has been accelerated by both time-limited stamp duty holidays and by homeowners reappraising their homes and lifestyles because of the lockdown.

“These figures are the earliest indicator of house price trends. They show prices gently rising not falling, and this will be reflected in the coming months.”

Read more about this story in Homes & Property and The Guardian.