April and May saw fewer property sales than March alone

Ryan Bembridge

June 21, 2016

row of houses

Fewer UK properties changed hands in April and May compared to March 2016 alone, HMRC figures show.

There were 74,590 transactions in April and 84,300 in May, while the busy March housing market saw 171,220 homes change hands.

In March the market experienced a stampede of investors looking to buy before the 3% stamp duty surcharge came into force on 1 April, while in the past two months the market has slowed due to the uncertainty surrounding the EU Referendum vote taking place in two days’ time.

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Adrian Whittaker, sales director of New Street Mortgages, said: “Given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming EU referendum, it’s not surprising that property transactions have seen only a slight increase in May.

“Each day, we are bombarded by arguments on Brexit and Bremain, and the subsequent fallout in the currency markets has clearly had the impact of deterring some buyers from going ahead with their next investment.

“However, there continues to be significant interest in the market for property, and competition remains strong. Demand will likely begin to pick up once again following the referendum, and the smart lenders will be those that can respond to this competitive environment by offering the quickest route to a mortgage.”

Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move, said: “The looming EU referendum means would-be buyers and sellers are keen to avoid any uncertainties caused by a surprise outcome.

“However, in the mid to long-term we expect the market to bounce back.

“Ultimately, high levels of demand for both rental and owner-occupied accommodation will drive transaction figures upwards, with our recently published forecast predicting the number of property transactions will rise by 7% this year and by 20% by 2020.”