HMRC: Transactions up 5.2% annually

Jake Carter

February 21, 2020

stamp duty

Residential property transactions increased by 5.2% in the year to January 2020, shows HMRC’s latest property transaction statistics.

The total number of residential transactions last month was 102,810, and the total number of non-residential transactions reached 11,170, up 10.7% annually.

On a monthly basis, residential transactions increased by 4.1% and non-residential transactions rose by 10.7%.

Anna Clare Harper, co-founder of property fund Anglo Residential, said: “January’s increase in transactions suggests a rebound in confidence, reflecting the ‘Boris Bounce’ and increased certainty around Brexit.

“The uptick in transactions also points to a release of pent-up demand and much-needed supply. This is great news for potential homebuyers, sellers and investors, as it both reflects and affects how easy it is to buy and sell.”

Ben Johnston, director of Houso, the off-market property app, added: ‘If we are seeing this level of transactions in January, it is exciting to see what spring holds for the housing market as it tends to be the busiest time of the year.

“Increased transactions are essential to the overall health of the housing market, suggesting not only that first-time buyers are getting on the ladder via schemes such as Help to Buy, but that second-steppers are moving up the ladder and downsizers moving in the other direction.

“However, more still needs to be done to help downsizers in particular with perhaps a stamp duty cut in the Budget the kickstart this section of the market needs to give them the impetus to move.”

Andrew Montlake, managing director at Coreco, said: “On this evidence, the extreme paralysis that gripped UK politics in 2019, did not transfer to the property market.

“For residential transactions in January 2020 to have surpassed the same month in 2019, is yet more proof of the property market’s resilience during a year of extreme political uncertainty.

“A lot of people wanted to get into a new home before our formal exit from the EU and this data certainly reflects that.

“Many people, especially first-time buyers, were particularly wary of a rebound in prices during 2020 if Brexit proved benign and did not want to miss their window.

“Given the performance of the property market in 2020 to date, they may well have played it right.”

Neil Knight, business development director at Spicerhaart Part-Exchange and Assisted Move, added: “Today’s figures show the strong activity in December continuing into January, with residential transactions up more than 5% on the previous year.

“Last month’s statistics were the first sign that the market had turned a corner and that confidence is beginning to return after a long period of political uncertainty.

“The January figures are welcome confirmation that this was more than just a one-off and the post-election bounce could turn out to be real.

“There remains a great deal to do to turn the bounce into a sustained upturn in the market but we are continuing to see very strong demand for part-exchange and assisted move services, with people who may have been putting off moving now increasingly impatient to get on with their lives.”

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