HMRC: Resi property transactions up by 5%

Michael Lloyd

October 22, 2019

The number of residential property transactions rose by 5% from August to September, HMRC’s Property Transactions Statistics have shown.

There were 101,740 residential property transactions in September which is a year-on-year increase of 2.3%.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The housing market is ticking along with an uplift in transactions compared with August and last September.

“HMRC warns against getting carried away in that there is an element of estimation in those numbers but that aside they do suggest that the bottom hasn’t fallen out of the housing market.

“People are getting on with their lives despite Brexit uncertainty.

“Lenders remain keen to lend and continue to tweak rates downwards in order to attract the limited number of committed buyers out there.

“There is no sign of this situation changing any time soon but hopefully resolution on Brexit will give some clarity and welcome impetus to the market.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “Although these figures are estimated, a positive interpretation is always better than a negative.

“These figures show once again the relative resilience of buyers and sellers.

“They also show the enthusiasm for the more serious to get on with moving despite the various political distractions going on around them.

“Looking forward, we don’t anticipate too much change and certainly no fireworks in the next month or so even if a Brexit deal can be negotiated, although there is inevitably some element of pent-up demand as many await the outcome.”

However, Josef Wasinski, co-founder of Wayhome, was less optimistic about today’s statistics.

Wasinski said: “Whilst these figures indicate positive movement on the property market, the reality is that significant numbers of people, on good salaries, cannot surmount the upfront costs that go along with homeownership.

“With mortgage lenders requiring deposits of more than 10% in many cases, owning a property is getting further out of reach for perfectly creditworthy ‘reluctant renters’ unless they make compromises on size, location or transport links.

“This homeownership gap can only be addressed through a concerted effort from both government and those focussing on helping first-time buyers, so people have a viable, alternative route onto the property ladder.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, commented: “An increase in transactions is always good news but it is only marginal as we sit, wait and hope, that something will move Brexit along, bringing some positivity into what is a suppressed and subdued housing market.

“The uplift in transactions compared with last year is encouraging, although you would expect an increase from August as people come back to work after their summer holidays and get on with things.

“We would have expected a bigger increase in transactions in September but then the protracted negotiations over Brexit have put paid to that.”

There were 10,500 non-residential transactions in September; a monthly increase of 7.7% and 0.2% year-on-year uplift.

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