Number of property transactions decrease

Jessica Nangle

August 21, 2019

Property transactions decreased for both residential and non-residential in July, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

The UK property transactions statistics report shows that non-residential and residential property transactions saw a 5.8% and 12.4% year-on-year decrease respectively.

The provisional seasonally adjusted UK property transaction count for July was 86,630 residential and 9,760 non-residential transactions.

Declining transactions began at the end of 2007 after the financial crisis, prior to this transaction counts had risen steadily reaching its peak in mid-2006.

Kevin Roberts, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Our research shows only one in ten borrowers plan to delay buying or selling as a result of Brexit, so it’s clear there are other barriers preventing a boost to transaction levels.

“While government schemes have helped thousands of first-time buyers onto the property ladder – we need to think about those further up the ladder too.

“To stimulate the market, the government needs to build more housing across all types of tenure.

“This will provide second steppers and last-time buyers with more choice and in turn, families can up or down-size accordingly.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: ’HRMC reveals a further slip-sliding of transactions compared with the same period last year as buyers and sellers continue to put big decisions like moving house on hold.

“For those who are brave enough to take the plunge, or who have simply had enough and want to get on with it, mortgages remain incredibly cheap.

“With fewer transactions happening, lenders are having to compete harder for business. With the exception of 10-year money, Swap rates have ticked up with three, five and 10-year swaps now cheaper than their two-year equivalents.

“Compared to where swaps were three months ago, lenders have been able to reduce their rates, and to some extent, maintain or make better returns.’

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, commented: ’While HMRC is reporting nothing as dramatic as transactions falling off a cliff, the picture for the housing market is not that rosy either.

“However, one would expect a seasonal lull – it will be interesting to see where these numbers are at the back end of October and whether we get the bounce back that you would expect at that time of year.

“It is not all doom and gloom: as a lender we are reasonably busy – getting enquiries in and money out of the door, which are two barometers as to whether things are going ok.

“What is interesting is the spike in commercial property transactions, suggesting investors are diversifying into other areas.

“There isn’t enough detail here about what these transactions are but more activity is encouraging none the less.”


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