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Property and Environment

Property sales in the UK have remained steady in 12 months to March 2019

Property sales in the UK are stable, largely unchanged in the 12 months to March 2019, the latest official figures show while non-residential transactions were up for a second month in a row.

The data published by HMRC show that sales of properties above £40,000 reached 101,830 in March 2019, up 1.4% month on month and 6.8% higher than the same month in 2018.

Non-residential property transactions increased by 8.9% between February 2019 and March 2019, and is 9.7% higher than March 2018.

Looking over a longer period the data shows that a fall in transactions starter at the end of 2007 which coincided with the housing market slump and financial crisis. Prior to this, sales had risen steadily, peaking in the middle of 2006.

The December 2009 peak was associated with the end of the stamp duty holiday, during which the lower tax threshold was raised to £175,000. The peak in March 2016 is associated with the introduction of higher rates on additional properties in April 2016.

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at online estate agent Yopa, pointed out that activity last March was hit by the Beast from the East weather pattern, and so an increase on last year’s figure was to be expected.

‘Overall, the first quarter has been remarkably consistent with the previous five years, showing that activity in the housing market has not been dented by the current political and economic uncertainty,’ he said.

According to Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal and General Mortgage Club, a stamp duty holiday for downsizers would help to boost the market. ‘While existing home owners remain largely undeterred by the current political climate, with just 12% of those who had plans to buy in the next six months delaying their decision, it’s clear there are still other barriers preventing people from achieving their home ownership goals,’ he said.

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‘The continued support we’ve seen from the Government to help those lower down the housing ladder is to be welcomed, but if we are to increase property transactions, this means helping those at the other end too. A stamp duty holiday for last time buyers, for example, would enable these borrowers to move to more suitable, freeing up larger homes often in school catchment areas for growing families,’ he explained.

Source: Property Wire

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