Market labelled ‘stagnant’ after property sales fall in July

Ryan Bembridge

August 21, 2018

UK property transactions fell by 0.8% from the month before and 3.2% year-on-year in July – leading to experts labelling the market as ‘flat’ and ‘stagnant’.

There were 99, 270 property transactions in July, seasonally adjusted figures from the HM Revenue and Customs show.

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite increased innovation in the property industry and assistance from government schemes such as Help to Buy and shared ownership, property transactions remain stagnant.

“A fundamental imbalance between supply and demand continues to stifle movement within the market, and until this issue is properly addressed, homeowners will find it difficult to downsize or upsize into better suited properties.

“The lack of availability of appropriate housing at all stages of homeownership is restricting movement in the market and creating bottlenecks.

“It’s therefore crucial that the industry continues to take whatever steps it can to ease this block and make the UK housing market accessible for all.”

Guy Bradshaw, director of Central London sales and lettings at UK Sotheby’s International Realty, said: “Undeniably recent economic and political uncertainty is being reflected in these lower figures but what is important is these lower figures are less extreme than what we were seeing earlier in the year.

“Rather than a market in decline we are seeing simply a flat market.”

There is an expectation that the market will be slightly subdued compared to 2017 throughout the rest of 2018.

Nick Leeming, chairman at Jackson-Stops, said: “With monthly transactions in 2018 failing to go beyond the 100,000 mark and higher inflation rates causing some households to start to feel the pinch, I can’t see there being any significant uplift in residential transaction levels this year.”

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