Residential property transactions down by 7.2% in March

Michael Lloyd

April 24, 2018

Residential property transaction volumes decreased by 7.2% between February 2018 and March 2018, HMRC property transactions for March showed.

This month’s seasonally adjusted figure is 11.8% lower compared with the same month last year. The transaction count for March 2018 was 92,270 residential and 9,650 non-residential transactions.

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Transactions have remained broadly flat for some time now, as the lack of housing supply and rising demand continues to take its toll.

“Not only is this limiting the options available to potential borrowers looking to buy their first property, but it’s having an impact higher up the ladder too, with many homeowners opting to improve rather than move.

“However, there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful and it remains a good time to get a mortgage.

“Interest rates and mortgage rates are still close to their historic lows, and now is still an opportune time to speak with a mortgage broker and explore your options. Those who wait may find rates are not so favourable in six to twelve months’ time.”

For March 2018 the number of non-adjusted residential transactions was about 13.3% higher compared with February 2018. The number of residential transactions was 10.9% lower than in March 2017.

The number of transactions rose at a lower rate in March 2018 compared with the same month in previous years.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Buyers may be demonstrating more caution because of fears that interest rates are on an upward trajectory.

“However, while a number of lenders have recently repriced their product ranges upwards, there are still some very competitive deals being launched as lenders jockey for business.

“With Mark Carney recently pouring cold water on market expectations of a rate rise next month, borrowers should not worry too much about speculation but act according to their own circumstances and what they can afford.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Transactions are a much better indicator of market health than the ups and downs of house prices for those of us at the coalface.

“And these figures, which of course reflect activity over the past few months, show the market to be softening but not collapsing as buyers and sellers seek to establish fair price levels.

“Those that do are clearly getting on with moving, whereas those that don’t are just getting left behind.

“Looking forward, we expect the situation to remain broadly unchanged or slightly more favourable bearing in mind recent mortgage approval numbers, which are usually a good indicator of future market activity.”

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