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Property transactions hit a slump in April – HMRC

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UK property transactions fell by a fifth between March and April, underlining a slowing property market, HMRC figures suggest.

The data, based on sales within the Stamp Duty thresholds, show there were 83,010 transactions in April 2017, down from 107,090 the month before, a 22.5% decline.

The figures look a bit more positive annually, up from 73,570, an 11.4% rise, but that is the month after the Stamp Duty rush and ahead of the EU referendum when the market also slowed.

Monthly transactions in England fell from 90,120 to 70,210.

Scotland saw a drop from 9,430 to 7,440, with Wales down from 5,400 to 3,740 and Northern Ireland at 1,620 from 2,140 a month before.

As a point of comparison, in April 2015 there were 86,970 transactions recorded, which may also have been skewed by the General Election that year. So, you would need to go back to 2014 for a relatively normal comparison, when there were 94,340 sales for April. However, that was of course under the old Stamp Duty system.

For fans of seasonal adjustments, HMRC says there were 99,910 UK transactions in April 2017, down 3% on March and 20.3% higher year-on-year.

Commenting on the figures, Brian Murphy, head of lending for the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “It is worth noting that April property completions would mainly be as a result of transactions started in March.

“Therefore, the full impact of the General Election announcement in April won’t be seen in the figures until perhaps the June data is released.

“As a snapshot of overall confidence in the UK housing market, it would appear to be that, for the moment at least, the situation remains normal and indeed, perhaps healthier than where we were in 2015, which was also an election year.”

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