Residential property transactions increased by 0.8% between April 2018 and May 2018 but were down 0.5% year-on-year, HMRC Property Transactions showed.
On a seasonally adjusted basis the property transaction count for May 2018 was 99,590 residential and 10,710 non-residential transactions.
Nick Chadbourne, chief executive of LMS, said: “May’s housing market saw slight improvements from April but continues to lag behind what we’ve seen at this time in previous years, according to HMRC’s latest figures.
“We’ve yet to see a single month in 2018 with more than 100,000 home sales – whereas last year it only dropped this low four times.
“The cooling in property transactions contrast sharply with the buoyant remortgage market, as many homeowners are opting to stay put and settle in for the next few years.”
Chadbourne added: “Conveyancing volumes show a surge in remortgaging with around half of all borrowers opting to refinance onto long-term fixed-rate deals to carry them through the current economic and political uncertainty.
“Despite the stamp duty cut and slower house price growth, first-time buyers are still struggling to get on the property ladder.
“Saving for a deposit is the most significant hurdle as monthly mortgage repayments are typically cheaper than renting. More needs to be done to help first-time buyers to ensure the market gets moving again.”
Neil Knight, business development director of Spicerhaart Part Exchange and Assisted Move, said: “While we are still nowhere near the levels we were seeing before the credit crunch – when the number of transactions had risen constantly over a number of years to reach a peak of around 150,000 per month – it is a marked increase, and could suggest we will start to see a bit of an uplift, especially in the new build sector.
“In fact, last week’s construction output figures from the ONS show that while overall, construction output between February and April 2018 was down compared with last year, new builds bucked the trend with a 4.4% annual rise.”