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Pent up demand sees residential transactions increase in July

Jessica Bird

August 21, 2020

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential property transactions in July 2020 was 70,710, 14.5% higher than June 2020, likely due to pent up demand following lockdown, according to the HMRC UK Property Transaction Statistics.

However, this was 27.4% lower than July 2019.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential property transactions in July 2020 was 8,380, 18.3% low er than July 2019, but 27.6% higher than June 2020.

The non-seasonally adjusted estimate of residential property transactions was 80,490, 23.2% lower than one year previous.

The non-seasonally adjusted estimate of non-residential property transactions in July 2020 was 8,770, 16.6% lower than July 2019.

The Q2 2020 residential transactions count is the lowest quarterly total within the period of April 2005 to April 2020, reflecting the impacts of coronavirus.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “While it’s still too early for the stamp duty holiday to feed through to HMRC’s July numbers, transactions continued to pick up owing to pent-up demand.

“Of much more interest will be September’s data when the full impact of the stamp duty exemption will be felt and the bustle of activity that we are seeing will feed through to the official numbers.

“Lenders remain keen to lend although they are exceptionally busy due to higher demand, dealing with the summer holidays and other demands placed on them by the fallout from the pandemic, with closer scrutiny of borrowers’ incomes meaning everything is taking longer.

“Rates are still competitively priced although at higher loan-to-values in particular they are creeping up.”

Anna Clare Harper, author of Strategic Property Investing, said: “The upward trend in transactions data reflects a piece of positive news for all of us: the housing market is moving again after a complex start to the year.

“This change reflects a release of pent-up demand and supply.

“What we’re seeing in the market, which will be reflected in August and September’s data, is the further influence of recent and temporary policies.

“The temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax change is helping those home buyers and investors who are looking to buy a property worth less than £500,000 in particular.

“We don’t know for sure what will happen next: economically, or in policy. But what we can predict accurately is that two crucial factors – economic confidence and policy – will prove fundamental to the future of the UK housing market.”

Alan Cleary, managing director, mortgages at OneSavings Bank, said: “It’s no surprise that market activity is down on 2019 transactions, but it’s encouraging to see a significant uptick since the easing of lockdown.

“With the market experiencing its busiest month for enquiries in more than 10 years in July, according to Rightmove, as a result of pent up demand and the government stimulus on stamp duty we should see an improvement in transaction levels in months to come.

“First time buyers, homeowners and landlords wishing to take advantage of the stamp duty relaxation should move sooner rather than later to ensure they don’t miss the deadline.”


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