Property transactions down a third in April

Property transactions down a third in April
Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Residential property transactions fell by a third month-on-month in April, according to data from HMRC.

Statistics published last week (May 21) showed the provisional, non-seasonally adjusted estimate of residential transactions in April was 111,260 - the highest total for that month since 2007 (126,450 transactions).

The figure for April 2021 is almost three times that of the same month last year (197.8 per cent higher) but a third (35.8 per cent) lower than March 2021.

HMRC added that caution should be used when interpreting April figures year-on-year, with a “substantial amount” of the difference due to significant negative impacts from the pandemic captured within April 2020 figures.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “April’s dip in transactions compared with March is likely to be at least partly due to the anticipated end of the stamp duty holiday, before its extension was announced, which resulted in buyers taking their foot off the gas to get deals done.”

In the Budget a three-month extension to the stamp duty holiday was announced until June 30. The nil rate band, currently set at £500,000, will then be set at £250,000 until the end of September, before returning to £125,000.

Jeremy Leaf, principal at estate agency Jeremy Leaf & Co, said activity had “picked up strongly” since the deadline was extended, enabling many buyers to resume their purchase plans, as well as encouraging new entrants to the market.

Although residential transactions in April fell month-on-month, Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer of online estate agent Strike, said there were “no signs of [the upcoming stamp duty holiday deadline] derailing the market”.

Mitchell said: “With a tapering off period until October, low stock levels, rock-bottom interest rates and the introduction of the government’s high loan-to-value lending scheme, there are more than enough factors to keep things buoyant.”

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