ResidentialAug 22 2017

Property deals rise despite price wobbles

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Property deals rise despite price wobbles

The number of residential transactions climbed by 1.3 per cent in July, according to HMRC.

Figures for the month show seasonally adjusted transactions rose for the second month in a row, from 103,450 to 104,760.

The July figure represents an increase of 8.3 per cent on an annual basis.

HMRC warned that year-on-year comparisons should be viewed with caution as the General Election in June may have led to buyers changing their behaviour.

The data comes in contrast to a number of recent indicators pointing to a slowing housing market.

Rightmove recently reported a 0.9 per cent drop in asking prices in August, while figures from Your Move and Halifax revealed annual growth had reached a four-year low in July.

But Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman, said transaction numbers were a better indicator of the health of the housing market than prices, which are prone to boom and bust.

He added: “While the seasonally-adjusted HMRC numbers are nothing to get particularly excited about, they do show a relatively stable market and reflect what we are seeing on the ground.

"Realistic buyers and sellers are getting on with moving and were doing so even at a time when things were relatively uncertain because of the general election.

“The figures compared with last year are misleading, however, because this time last year the market was in the doldrums following the imposition of the stamp duty surcharge. 

“Looking forward we are expecting more of the same with buyers and sellers negotiating hard to get sales through. Those who aren’t prepared to see the reality of the present market will be left behind.”