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Panic stations! Commentators worry about ‘seasonally adjusted’ data, but guess what – sales actually on the up


Property commentators were at panic stations on Friday after HMRC data showed that housing transactions appeared to have slipped below 100,000 during June.

But a closer look at the figures actually shows the market was doing fine, even with the Brexit negotiations and General Election.

Data from HMRC showed there were 96,910 sales, down from 100,270 a year before – but only on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The actual, non-adjusted, figures show property transactions rose in June on both an annual basis and monthly, up 11.66% from May to 110,750. The number was also up 7.78% from 106,040 recorded in June 2016.

We have not seen any pundits’ comments on the actual rise in figures, but there were some who made the best of the bleaker picture painted by the seasonally massaged data.

Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The majority of transactions which completed in June would have started in March, when Article 50 was triggered, or April when the snap General Election was called.

“We can now begin to see how this may have impacted on consumer confidence in bricks and mortar, with the data suggesting that actually, the market would appear to be ticking over in quite a consistent manner during a period of political and economic uncertainty.

“Of course, buyers can only purchase what is available on the market for sale, and as recent reports from other industry bodies such as RICS suggest, homes for sale in many areas of the country are approaching record low numbers, which may as yet be reflected in the number of transactions completed in the next few months.

“But what HMRC’s report does suggest is that people still want to buy property, and that demand for housing would appear to have been undiminished, no doubt assisted by the ongoing accessibility of record low mortgage deals, which is an underlying yet key factor to ongoing market stability.”

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Source:: Panic stations! Commentators worry about ‘seasonally adjusted’ data, but guess what – sales actually on the up