HMRC: Housing transactions falter in May

Ryan Bembridge

June 21, 2017

Residential and buy-to-let house purchase activity faltered in May – falling by 3.3% from the month before, HMRC data has revealed.

There were 13.4% more transactions than May last year, though that month was extremely slow due to the 3% stamp duty surcharge came into force in April.

Rob McCoy, product manager of TMA Mortgage Club, said: “Staying put is more attractive than ever for borrowers.

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“In addition to the housing shortage, the latest fall in housing transactions is partly because most homeowners are taking advantage of the low interest rates by remortgaging rather than by moving.”

Meanwhile Shaun Church, director at Mortgage Broker Private Finance, said: “The residential market is clearly still struggling to move out of first gear, with these changes and a persistent lack of supply limiting transaction volumes.”

Others blamed the General Election and Brexit for the slowdown.

Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move, said: “The 3.3% monthly fall in property transactions in May is disappointing but to be expected in the context of a snap general election.

“The bigger question facing the property market is what the impact of June’s election result will be.

“The good news is that the number of sales has hovered above 100,000 a month so far this year. If that is sustained, this will be a good year for the housing market.”

And Stephen Wasserman, managing director at West One Loans, said: “The market has been cooling off in recent months as buyers get to grips with stamp duty hikes and the heightened economic instability caused by the General Election and Brexit talks looming.”

But he added: “Despite a period of gradual decline, we’re cautiously optimistic that transactions will pick up again in the coming months.”

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