HMRC: Property transactions rise by over 6%

Michael Lloyd

January 21, 2020

The number of residential property transactions rose by 6.2% from November to December, HMRC’s Property Transactions Statistics have shown.

There were 104,670 residential property transactions last month which is up 6.8% year-on-year.

Similarly, the number of non-residential transactions increased by 13.4% from November and 0.8% from December 2018.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director or property lender MT Finance, said: “The back-end of the year saw an increase in activity and purchases after the general election as a lot of transactional flow held off until after the result was known.

“Estate agents and lenders were extremely busy as people were keen to get on with things.

“There is a positivity around transactions and market sentiment that we haven’t seen for a while – maybe we are seeing the green shoots of spring appear a little earlier than usual.”

Neil Knight, business development director at Spicerhaart Part-Exchange and Assisted Move, added: “It’s normal that people don’t look to move house around Christmas so we’d have expected to see a bit of a fall-off in December’s figures, but that hasn’t happened.

“After a year of essentially flat-lining, the seasonally-adjusted figures have shown a significant increase in December.

“Taken together with the figures for the two months before Christmas, this is a huge shot in the arm and paints a picture of a real recovery starting to take hold.

“We’re already seeing a strong start to the year and it seems pretty clear that now the election is out of the way, everyone’s feeling a bit more confident and ready to make the moves that they’ve perhaps been putting off before.

“It’s still going to take some time for that to filter through fully so we’re optimistic that the first few months of 2020 could be very positive.

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said the ongoing price war among mortgage lenders is creating an ultra-low rate climate, helping consumers to access great value finance.

He said: “Despite this, transaction volumes have remained broadly constant in recent months.

“While improving political certainty has buoyed some to push ahead with their homeownership plans, there are still barriers preventing the growth of transaction volumes.

“The good news is that an increasing number of consumers are turning to the professional guidance of a mortgage adviser to help them make the right decisions about their homeownership future.

“However, whilst Britons save on their mortgage repayments, many still face steep fees from other areas, including stamp duty.

“To unlock the market and boost transaction volumes, we need to see significant improvements to the volumes, and suitability, of homes in the UK.”

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